Gio van Bronckhorst and James Tavernier both had praise for James Sands after Rangers’ 1-1 draw with Aberdeen.
Sands only joined the Gers two weeks ago on an 18-month loan deal from New York City FC.
However, with Steven Davis, Scott Arfield and Ryan Jack all unavailable, he was thrown in at the deep end at Pittodrie on Tuesday night.
It was a surprise call from the manager to go with Sands over John Lundstram, but a popular one with supporters ahead of kick-off.
The 21-year-old wasn’t outstanding, but he certainly didn’t disgrace himself either in what was a tough first assignment in the famous shirt and both the Gers boss and the skipper praised him for his efforts.
“It’s not an easy game, so I thought he did well tonight in a game that was tough for the whole team,” said GvB [RangersTV]. “I think he did better in the second half, especially when we put John [Lundstram] in midfield with him and it created a nice block there.”
“We did well after the penalty kick to shut the game down and avoid letting up a winning goal.”
“He’s gelled in really quick to the squad and to come up here [Aberdeen] for his first match, I thought he handled himself really well,” added Tavernier.
“He’s a player we can use in the future and a great squad player and I think he fills in nicely, especially with Joe [Aribo] out.”
Sands’ SofaScore rating of 7.0 for the match was the second-highest of any Rangers player behind goalscorer Ianis Hagi’s 7.1.
The debutant recorded a pass accuracy percentage of 83, won five out of nine ground duels and two out of five aerial duels.
Additionally, he made three tackles, two clearances, one interception and wasn’t dribbled past by an opponent.