Rangers manager Steven Gerrard believes the lessons learned in the last two years of European football helped his side see off Galatasaray.
Goals from Scott Arfield and James Tavernier sealed a 2-1 win and booked Rangers into the Europa League group stage for the third successive year.
Since Gerrard’s arrival at Ibrox, the side has successfully negotiated qualifying but also achieved some notable results, particularly last season when they progressed to the last 16 of the competition.
Both Arfield and Tavernier’s goals came from slick interplay and passing between the players and Gerrard said the team had show confidence in attacking the Turkish side.
“The two years’ experience has certainly helped us grow and prepared us for nights like tonight,” he said.
“When you’re a manager and in this position and under the spotlight in these situations then any goal is welcome but I thought these two goals were outstanding.
“We asked the players at half time to back themselves in the final third so I’m very pleased with our attacking play but more so in the second half.”
Gerrard said his players deserved praise but that he wanted their performances to translate into silverware this season.
“It’s up there with the best nights we’ve had,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of fantastic experiences in the two years, certainly from a European point of view.
“The players deserve a lot of credit for the performances. Across the team they were outstanding and they beat a good team today, an experienced team with fantastic players and a good manager. So I’m very pleased for them.
“But I’ve just said to them that at this club we need to continue to work game by game and be in and around the good nights when it comes to May.
“That’s the most important thing.”
The only down side for the manager was that the club’s supporters weren’t there to see their side reach the group stage, with Scottish stadiums still closed to fans.
“It goes without saying the financial reasons why Rangers need to be in the competition,” he said. “But more important is that the fans deserve to watch their team in Europe.
“I felt for them tonight not being in the stadium. Can you imagine what it would have been like had we had them with us?
“But we knew they’d be watching in their thousands and we wanted to put in a performance they could be proud of.”
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