STEVEN GERRARD has backed Rangers to continue rising to the challenges and occasions in the Europa League as they target a place in the knockout rounds this term.

The Light Blues failed to secure progression from Group D on Thursday night as they were left to rue two late goals that denied them a crucial win over Benfica.

Strikes from Scott Arfield and Kemar Roofe weren't enough at Ibrox as Benfica staged another dramatic comeback to earn a share of spoils three weeks after the six-goal thriller in Lisbon.

Rangers will now look to clinch progression when they host Standard Liege next week and Gerrard is encouraged by the development of his side as they continue to punch above their weight on the continent.

Gerrard said: “What I would say is this group of players is very honest. They are a great group and whatever challenge they are presented with, they will go and give it their best shot - that’s for sure.

“Their attitude and application, I’ve been very proud of since the beginning of the season.

“In terms of facing anyone in Europe at the moment, I think it’s a bit ambitious to say that. We are still a group in an evolution, trying to improve. But, without a doubt, they will take any challenge on.”