The European dream turned into a Champions League nightmare for Rangers last season. A year on, the same competition offers a shot at glory and a chance at redemption.

For those that lived through it, the memories of a painful, pointless Group A campaign still linger. It is only those that remain that can right the wrongs, though.

The comeback to see off Union Saint-Gilloise and the remarkable achievement in Eindhoven as PSV were beaten in the play-offs turned out to be the high points of the campaign. In the weeks that followed, Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side were humbled and humiliated as Ajax, Liverpool and Napoli proved to be several levels above a squad that would also underperform and underachieve domestically.

Now under the guidance of Michael Beale, Rangers will return to Champions League action with the visit of Servette this evening. If the Swiss can be beaten, old foes PSV or Sturm Graz will stand between the Premiership title hopefuls and a place in the group stages alongside Celtic.

READ MORE: Michael Beale reveals Fashion Sakala chat over big money Rangers exit

A return to that arena would undoubtedly test this newly assembled squad. For midfielder John Lundstram, it is a challenge to be relished rather than feared.

“It is for me personally,” Lundstram said when asked if righting the wrongs from last season was a motivation for this term. “I’m not sure about the other lads, of course, but I’m sure it will be. 

“It’s not nice when you don’t perform to the level you know you’re capable of and have shown. 

“We know we can do better. So hopefully this year, if we can progress into the group stages we can put on a better performance. 

“But of course that’s distant. We’ve hopefully got four games until that point so we can cross that bridge when we come to it. 

“Playing up against absolute world class players every week is a great experience but it would have been a better experience if we’d done a bit better. Of course it would. 

“That’s all hindsight now. We just want to come through [the Servette] match in the best place possible and then go forward.”

This time last term, it was Van Bronckhorst that was heading into the third qualifying round having embarked on a signing spree over the close season. Two of those recruits – Malik Tillman and Antonio Colak – made an immediate impression at Ibrox.

The Champions League fixtures are part of the attraction for prospective signings when they are considering their options and Beale is now attempting to guide a squad that has been significantly remodelled through a tricky, testing schedule.

Time is of the essence at Ibrox. The fall out from the defeat to Kilmarnock will have been an insight into that for the new recruits but those that have been over the course and distance before know that these matches provide the perfect stage to make a name for yourself.

“It can be, definitely,” Lundstram said. “We all know how important this game is.

READ MORE: Michael Beale issues Rangers fan message ahead of Champions League tie

“So if you play well and get yourself on the scoresheet you can become a fan favourite straight away, which would be nice for the lads. So I’m really hoping they do that. 

“It’s one of them, you don’t go over to a player and say that [you don’t get time] to them. But of course I’m sure they’ve done their due diligence and know the history of Rangers Football Club and they know how much pressure there is to play for the club and to perform and win.  

“People pay to come and watch us every week. It’s a big passionate fanbase that gets us over the line in games but you are also under the microscope as well. 

“I’m sure the players do know how big a club they are playing for and I’m sure they really, really want to impress as well.”

The arrival of nine new faces over the summer raised expectation levels before a ball was kicked. When the whistle was blown on Saturday, Rangers failed to meet the demands.

Beale did not push any panic buttons in the aftermath of the defeat to Kilmarnock and he will be as aware as anyone at Ibrox how quickly fortunes can change as he attempts to take a positive result into the return leg in Switzerland next week.

“Yeah, I think so,” Lundstram said when asked if the squad had improved from last season. “The gaffer has brought in some good players and some great lads around the dressing room. 

“We lost some big characters from the dressing room, but the new lads have come in and been great. Hopefully they settle quickly and start getting some goals and assists for us. 

READ MORE: Euro tie takes on added significance for Rangers after Killie loss

“It’s tough. It’s hard to join any new club anywhere in the world and come in and hit the ground running straight away. 

“If the lads can do that, great. But at the same time we know we need to start quickly because we’ve got important games. Going into [the Servette game], let’s hope it clicks and we can get a few goals.”

There would be no time like the present for Rangers to find their feet and find their form. Ibrox will expect once again and Beale’s side must deliver against the Swiss.

Lundstram said: “European nights are massive for Rangers. Hopefully the fans can give us another big night and we can back it up with a performance.

“We need to give them something to sing about. Hopefully we can start on the front foot and get them off their seats early doors to make it a special night.”