RANGERS’ narrow 2-1 win over Servette in the first leg of their Champions League third qualifying round double header at Ibrox tonight will have a number of ramifications.

For a start, those supporters who revolted, and in some cases wrote off the entire season, after the 1-0 defeat to Kilmarnock in the cinch Premiership opener on Saturday evening will be a little bit less apocalyptic about what the 2023/24 campain holds.

James Tavernier and his team mates, too, will head to Switzerland on Monday with a decent chance of recording the aggregate victory they need to progress to a play-off against either PSV Eindhoven or Sturm Graz.  

Elsewhere, Rangers manager Michael Beale will be unlikely to leave Todd Cantwell out any time soon.

Beale was, with some justification, lambasted by irate Bears for not selecting Cantwell, the January acquisition who was one of his most creative and effective players in the second-half of last season, at the weekend.

The Englishman stated afterwards that his first signing had been omitted for tactical reasons. But his compatriot was a noticeable inclusion in the home team that took to the field before kick-off.

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He replaced Kieran Dowell on the left side of midfield and made an immediate impression. He showed a directness, an energy and a work rate which had been badly lacking in the Glasgow giants’ play down in Ayrshire throughout.

He won them a penalty with his quick thinking in just the fifth minute. David Douline failed to anticipate his opponent ghosting in to pinch the ball in his area and inadvertently brought him down. Lithuanian referee Donatas Rumsas pointed straight to the spot and James Tavernier converted.

That was far from Cantwell’s only significant contribution to proceedings. He applied pressure to the visitors’ players when they had possession inside their own half, he used the ball intelligently whenever and wherever it came to him and was prepared to drop deep and help the defence snuff out opposition attacks. He was everywhere.

The former Norwich City man made headlines for his social media posts last term and became something of a hate figure for the supporters of other Scottish clubs. They dubbed the peroxide-blonde Tik Tok Todd. But he highlighted once again that he can walk the walk as well as talk the talk.       

He was booked by the match official, somewhat harshly as he won the ball, for a foul on Jeremy Guillemenot when play restarted after half-time, but then drew a bad challenge out of Douline which earned the Frenchman a second yellow and a red.  

He continued to probe for an opening in the final third and looked the player in a light blue jersey most likely to do so. It was no surprise when he was named Man of the Match towards the end of regulation time. His bright showing underlined the folly of leaving him on the bench against Kilmarnock.

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He will, barring illness or injury, be one of the first names down on the team sheet for the visit of Livingston to Govan this Saturday and then thereafter.  

Cantwell was one of only three changes to the Rangers side which was beaten at the weekend. Elsewhere, Ryan Jack came in for John Lundstram in the centre of the park while Danilo took over from Abdullah Sima further forward.

Much is expected of Danilo, the Brazilian forward who cost in excess of £5m, this season and the Rangers fans in the 48,956-strong crowd were eager to see exactly what the new arrival could contribute.

He looked like a player who had last started a match way back in March at times. But he did enough to show why his new club had been prepared to spend so much cash to secure his services. As did his fellow new boys Jack Butland, Cyriel Dessers and Sam Lammers.

Beale pitched Sima, Jose Cifuentes, Dowell, Ianis Hagi and Scott Wright into the fray in the closing stages in the hope they could aid Rangers’ pursuit of a third goal. His substitutions proved to no avail.      

But Danilo, Dessers, who had opened his account from close range in the first-half, Lammers, Sima and Dowell were all unfortunate not to make the scoreline 3-1 in the second-half as the hosts applied relentless pressure. Joel Mall denied them all to keep Rene Weiler’s charges just a single goal adrift.

The summer signings, though, have a little work to do to reach the level that Cantwell operates at. This performance was certainly a marked improvement on Saturday. But the demands on them at home and abroad will be considerable and they will have to crank things up a notch or two in coming weeks and months to meet them.

Not least in the Stade de Geneve next Wednesday night.