JAMES Tavernier has expressed confidence that Rangers can record the result they need to secure European football after Christmas against Aris Limassol – but only if they address the failing that cost them dear against Aberdeen on Sunday.

The right back was on the receiving end of one of the most humiliating results in his time at Ibrox at the start of last month when the Glasgow club lost their Europa League group game against the Cypriot minnows 2-1 away.

However, midfielder Steven Davis had been placed in temporary charge for that encounter following the sacking of Michael Beale. The Northern Ireland internationalist took the side for the first time ever in the Alphamega Stadium. 

Tavernier believes that he and his team mates have improved both collectively and individually since Philippe Clement – who has retained Davis on his backroom staff - replaced Beale on a permanent basis last month.

He is certain they will highlight just how much they have progressed when they face Aleksey Shpilevsky’s men once again in Govan tomorrow evening.

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Clement’s charges, who are in second spot in Group C after four matches, can guarantee a place in the Conference League knockout round play-offs if they draw with Aris.

A win, meanwhile, will secure them a berth in the Europa League knockout round play-offs even if third placed Sparta Prague beat section leaders Real Betis in the Czech Republic.

The Rangers captain is, despite the bitterly disappointing 1-1 draw which the Ibrox club were held to by Aberdeen in a cinch Premiership match at Pittodrie on Sunday afternoon, in a positive frame of mind going into the meeting.

The Herald: However, the defender, who can equal Ally McCoist’s incredible haul of 21 European goals if he finds the back of the net once again, knows that the hosts will have to be at their very best from kick-off until the final whistle to give their supporters a victory to cheer.

Tavernier was disappointed with how they performed in the early stages of the Aberdeen match. They allowed striker Bojan Miovski to open the scoring and then struggled to level due to the inspired form of goalkeeper Kelle Roos.

They needed an injury-time penalty – which was only awarded when referee Nick Walsh ruled that Stefan Gartenmann had pulled the shirt of his rival centre half Connor Goldson at a corner after watching a replay of the incident on his pitchside monitor - to secure a point. 

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"In the past few weeks we have been finishing off chances,” said the Rangers skipper. “It was just a day where their keeper made good saves. I thought we nullified their threat in the second half. But we will learn from it and move forward. We have a massive game on Thursday now.

"We know how disappointing a performance it was we put in in Cyprus. But I think a lot has changed since then. The gaffer has come in. We are really listening to the gaffer and taking his ideas onto the pitch. Whatever plan he puts forward for us on Thursday we will be doing that.

"There's a lot of clarity in the team now. Everyone knows their role and what they are doing. Everyone is getting fitter and stronger. We are all trying to push each other and we have got a real momentum going.

The Herald:

"But, first of all, we are looking at a clean sheet. We have looked back on Sunday - especially the first 15 to 20 minutes. We know where we need to improve. Having said that, we are always looking to improve even if we win games.

“We need to make a faster start and be more switched on. And if we do that we will put ourselves in a good position for Thursday to get the three points."

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Rangers had the opportunity to close the gap on leaders Celtic, who had played two games more than their city rivals, at the top of the Premiership to six points with a triumph over Aberdeen on Sunday and failed to do so.

Not having Ryan Jack in central midfield seemed to have a detrimental impact on the visitors’ overall performance at the weekend. Summer signing Jose Cifuentes came in alongside John Lundstram and the Ecuadorian, who had not started a club game in six weeks, struggled to impose himself on proceedings.

Tavernier, though, can only see the Ibrox outfit, who are undefeated in the eight games they have played in all competitions to date under Belgian coach Clement, improving further in the weeks ahead as they get bodies back.

  He feels the likes of Todd Cantwell, Cifuentes, Rabbi Matondo and Tom Lawrence are creating healthy competition for places which was not there previously and he is optimistic they will be able to negotiate their hectic schedule of domestic and European matches successfully.

"I am looking at all the lads at training and they are all pushing hard,” he said. “Whoever is asked to play will put in a good performance in. I thought the subs on Sunday were good. Rabbi came on and was a real threat so we will continue to push each other.

"To be honest, it's a massive month and a half for us. We know how big Thursday night is. We have got to take full advantage of playing at Ibrox and try and get the three points. That is the objective that everyone is working towards.”