It’s fair to say the jury is still out on Rangers USA loan pair James Sands and Malik Tillman, but as they team up with John Lundstram against Aberdeen, does it give a glimpse into the future at Ibrox?
Rangers absolutely hammered Aberdeen 4-1 at Ibrox with all three players catching the eye and impressing in a dynamic midfield three which offered a lot more than the club has been getting in the position as of late.
James Sands looks much more comfortable as that anchoring midfielder who recycles the ball and breaks up play, whilst John Lundstram has now scored in three Premiership matches on the bounce.
The ex-Sheffield United man has been consistently employed in the role Sands filled v Aberdeen since Giovanni van Bronckhorst came in at Rangers but in that advanced box-to-box number 8 position the Scouser is excelling.
Then there is the quite clearly talented Malik Tillman, who has shown several times already in a Rangers shirt that he is a quality player who can produce in big moments.
There is an issue with work-rate but with Tillman only being 20-years-old, there is still plenty of room for the player to grow and after a spell out of the side, Rangers are now pitching the Bayern loanee in.
Did Rangers get glimpse into future with James Sands & Malik Tillman v Aberdeen?
What happens next with both players will largely depend on what happens during the rest of the season.
By playing James Sands and Malik Tillman in their proper positions, Rangers fans will get a better glimpse of what they can offer long-term and alongside John Lundstram there’s a dynamism and intelligence there that plenty will struggle to match.
If Rangers do see the pair as long-term members of the starting XI then they will reportedly need to spend a combined £10m to bring them James Sands from NYCFC and Malik Tillman from FC Bayern in the summer.
To justify such a substantial outlay Rangers will undoubtedly need to play the two players and perhaps against Aberdeen we got a glimpse into how they could be employed as full-time Ibrox stars.
With Ryan Jack, Scott Arfield and Steven Davis all out of contract in the summer, there could also be the necessary space for the two players to step into.