WE are living and playing in the new normal. When it comes to the Europa League, it is a case of the more things change, the more they stay the same for Rangers.

This has been a very different qualification campaign but it has ended in familiar outcome. For the third season running, Steven Gerrard’s side will play group stage football in the Europa League.

Galatasaray are the most prestigious opposition that Rangers have faced in these preliminary rounds but Gerrard’s side once again rose the challenge as goals from Scott Arfield and James Tavernier won this play-off shoot-out.

Gerrard is now undefeated in 19 qualifiers in this competition, while Bayer Leverkusen remain the only side to win at Ibrox. With their place in the groups now confirmed, Rangers can dare to dream about eclipsing their achievements on the continent once again.

That Leverkusen fixture, played back in March, was the last that Rangers played in front of a full Ibrox. This victory deserved a similar stage and wow factor but Gerrard’s side lived up to his promise that they would give their absent support a performance to be proud of.

Of all the games that Rangers have played here this season, this one was the strangest in terms of the feel around the ground. On what should have been a raucous, high-octane evening, the lack of atmosphere really hit home as European action returned.

It was a sad sight, but Rangers had no option but to produce a showing befitting the tie, if not the occasion and while they would start positively, they had to be patient to earn their rewards.

The opening stages were encouraging for Gerrard but Galatasaray grew into the encounter and would finish the first half in the ascendancy. Neither keeper was really worked, but the visitors looked threatening as they moved the ball with purpose.

Given how comfortable Galatasaray looked in possession, it was surprising that Allan McGregor didn’t have a busier night. Like Rangers at times the promising phases of play ended with a whimper, with Sofiane Feghouli culpable of wasting a couple of good openings.

The same certainly applied to Rangers and two chance came within a few minutes of each other. A teasing cross from Tavernier was just too far in front of Arfield, while Connor Goldson saw a header diverted over the bar by Christian Luyindama.

There were moments where Rangers looked like they could cut Galatasaray open but too often their final pass wasn’t clinical enough or wrong decisions were made. It was a half of some positives, but mostly one of frustration.

Ryan Kent should have done better when he latched onto a lovely long ball from Goldson, while Ianis Hagi and Alfredo Morelos squandered an opening after Luyindama lost possession in the middle of the park.

Had Rangers been sharper, then Galatasaray were here to be beaten. It was a tight, evenly matched encounter and Gerrard needed his players to raise their levels after the break.

A header from Morelos just after the restart was fairly tame, but when Rangers put together another neat move it would pay dividends. Morelos dummied a purposeful pass from Tavernier and Hagi showed composure to turn it into the path of Arfield.

There was still plenty to do, but the midfielder didn’t waste his moment. Gerrard had been full of praise for Arfield this week, hailing the way that he had stepped up and grabbed his chance in recent outings, and this was his most important contribution yet as he beat Fatih Ozturk with an accomplished finish.

It was just the start to the second half that Rangers needed and the game was taken away from Galatasaray before the hour mark. This goal wasn’t as impressive on the eye, but it was even more important and the celebrations on the Rangers bench told their own story.

A Borna Barisic cross appeared innocuous enough as it hung in the air after a deflection off Omar Elabdellaoui but neither Ozturk or Martin Linnes could deal with it. Their procrastination proved costly, with Tavernier showing more desire to meet the cross and head home from close range.

If Arfield deserves credit for the way he has moved through the gears recently, then so does Tavernier. This was his seventh goal in as many games and the Ibrox captain will now lead his side out in the group stages as a result.

Time was against Galatasaray and while a header from Marcao gave them hope, the final whistle would extinguish them for good. This wasn’t quite as nervy as the nights against Ufa and Legia Warsaw, but the outcome was no less deserved.

It was game won and job done for Rangers once again, and neither fact should have been a surprise as Europa League normality returned to Ibrox.