THE win was all that really mattered for Rangers. The manner of it offered plenty of encouragement, however.

Rangers have found out to their cost the consequences when opportunities are missed but they are now positioned, almost programmed, to make the most of them this term.

Thursday night was another sign of where Steven Gerrard's side are right now, and where they could be heading domestically and in Europe.

Rangers twice found themselves behind to Standard Liege but still uncovered a way to win. With it, they secured a place in the last 32 for the second consecutive season.

A Connor Goldson header and James Tavernier penalty restored parity before Scott Arfield's winner earned a victory that, for long spells, seemed unlikely to arrive.

This wasn't Rangers at their best, but the character and the mentality they showed perfectly encapsulates the differences between Gerrard's side today and those of his previous two campaigns.

“We knew when we came in at half-time that our performance was definitely under par,” Tavernier said. “We knew we weren’t at it but the tactics we were trying to apply we weren’t getting right.

“So we went a bit more back to basics, getting in their faces more, pressing them. We felt we grew into the game in the second half. And obviously it was a fantastic assist and the strike from Scotty got us the most important three points and we got qualification for the last 32.

“These European nights have shown how we can dig deep and how strong our mentality is as a group to dig deep and never quit.

“All of the boys have bought into what we want to do this season. We’ve been together now for a couple of years and we’ve had some new additions who have fitted so well into the squad.

“We’re working well together. We’re always hungry. We know what is required this season.

“We’ve been winners in training, really at it. That takes you into the weekend full of confidence with a winning mentality. We’re really at it at the minute and the main thing is really to stay grounded and keep working hard. That’s all we can do. We can’t let any complacency slip in."

The penalty that Tavernier scored just before half-time was his ninth successful conversion of the campaign.

It was typically assured and clinical. The captain's issues from 12 yards last term now seem such a long time ago.

Tavernier said: “I always going into a season wanting double figures on both goals and assists. I probably want more assists at this stage but that’s something I can keep working at.

“The team is giving us opportunities to get penalties, the boys are really performing well up top. The movement they are creating and the problem they are creating for defenders is giving us the opportunity to have penalties. It is mostly down to them for getting us the penalties.

“I just kept on working on it after training. Free kicks and penalties – that’s what some of the boys do. That’s something I’ve always done after training. Even when I wasn’t on them, I kept on working hard to improve myself.”

As it transpired, a point would have sufficed at Ibrox as Benfica beat Lech 4-0 to ensure they join Rangers in the next round this term.

Victory in Poland will be enough to clinch top spot but the focus is on Ross County and the Premiership title race.

Tavernier said: “We knew that a draw might not be good enough. We didn’t want to settle for a draw, we wanted the three points.

“We let ourselves down with the goals but we got ourselves back in it with set-pieces, Connor and myself, to really grow into the second half, which we did.

“We’ll take that into the game against Ross County and treat that like a cup final but every game is important for us as a team and as a club. We’re still at the early stages but we’ve got to keep this consistency moving forward.

“We’re looking forward to them all. We’ve had home games but we have a great chance of winning the Europa League group and before that, Ross County will be a very tough game. They’ll be full of confidence. I’m looking forward to it all but Ross County is the one we’re focused on, then we move on to Thursday."