1. Rangers can beat Ufa and reach the Europa League group stages this season

Nobody at Ibrox had demanded that Steven Gerrard lead Rangers into the group stages of the Europa League so soon after being appointed manager despite the extensive recruitment drive he embarked on in the summer.

It was certainly expected that the arrival of the Liverpool and England great would lift both players and supporters. It was anticipated that he would do better than his hapless predecessor Pedro Caixinha. And it was hoped that the players he brought in would be a significantly improvement on their predecessors.

But it was asking a lot of a man who has spent little over a season as a youth team coach, never mind a manager, to successfully steer the Glasgow club through European qualifying in the early weeks of his reign.

Gerrard, though, has swiftly assembled a team that is reliable defensively, creative and combative in midfield and can find the net when they carve out opportunities in the final third.

They will go into the first leg of the play-off against Ufa of Russia brimming with confidence, enjoying some impressive form and with a realistic chance of reaching the group stages after their triumph over Maribor of Russia.

2. Allan McGregor has been a sensational summer signing for Rangers

The former Scotland internationalist is no stranger to performing heroics for Rangers in European competition. He did it memorably during his first spell at Ibrox on more than one occasion. So his display last night was no great surprise.

But it might have been a different story for the Ibrox club if McGregor hadn’t been between the sticks. He pulled off a string of sensational saves to ensure that his team kept a clean sheet, drew 0-0 and progressed.

His close-range block from Tavares late on was superb. His penalty save from the same player in injury-time capped a memorable night for the goalkeeper. He may be 36 now, but his ability shows no sign of waning. So far, he has been the pick of the 11 new players who have arrived at Govan this summer.

3. Andy Halliday has a future at his boyhood heroes

Andy Halliday has endured a tumultuous year or so at the club he grew up in Glasgow supporting as a young boy.

He found himself surplus requirements under Pedro Caixinha, endured a disappointing loan spell at Gabala in Kazakhstan and was then helpless to prevent the Ibrox club suffering two heavy defeats at the hands of their city rivals Celtic after returning in January.

Indeed, Halliday became a figure of fun for supporters of the Parkhead club so wretched were his showings in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final at Ibrox and the final Ladbrokes Premiership match at Parkhead.

However, the defender cum midfielder selflessly made himself available for selection despite having had little game time and his displays suffered as a result. He was a shadow of the man who had been an ever-present as Rangers won the Championship and promotion back to the top flight.

But Steven Gerrard has been impressed with his ability and attitude since he arrived and he had no hesitation in handing him a start at left back against Maribor last night in Slovenia. He was rewarded with a mature showing. His versatility will ensure he gets game time going forward.

4. Alfredo Morelos hasn’t learned from his ordering off against Aberdeen

The Colombian striker showed no signs of being unsettled by the £3.75 million bid that French club Bordeaux had tabled for him in the build-up to the game against Maribor.

He performed the lone striker’s role with aplomb. He was a handful for the home team’s defence despite receiving limited service. He never stopped running all night.

But the 22-year-old, ordered off against Aberdeen at Pittodrie in the opening Ladbrokes Premiership game for kicking out at Scott McKenna off the ball, needs to watch his temperament.

That red card may have been rescinded on appeal, but the centre forward still hasn’t learned his lesson. He became embroiled in needless altercations with opposition players in the closing stages.

The match official wasn’t fooled by the play-acting of Maribor player Hotic, who went to ground clutching his face after his rival had squared up to him, but in future the referee may be fooled.

Morelos is a fine young player with a bright future ahead of him – if he matures and stops getting dragged into pointless spats.

5. The sooner VAR is introduced into European club football the better

Rangers looked to have secured their place in the Europa League play-off courtesy of a hugely professional display in Slovenia as the game entered injury-time.

Then match official Jonathan Lardot inexplicably awarded a penalty to the home team after ruling that Connor Goldson had tripped Luka Zahovic inside his own box.

Tavares had his spot kick saved by Allan McGregor. But if he had slotted it home it would have made for a nerve-wracking final three minutes for Steven Gerrard and his players as their opponents would only have needed one more goal to go through.

It looked to be a very soft penalty award. Indeed, it is highly doubtful that any contact was even made. Goldson was certainly baffled.

The use of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) at the Russia 2018 finals this summer divided opinion among players, managers, pundits and supporters and is clearly far from perfect.

However, it would have been helpful to Lardot if he had been able to refer to a replay of the incident last night.

VAR is here to stay. Hopefully, it will be modified and improved as a result of lessons learned in the World Cup. The sooner it is introduced to European football the better. It can prevent costly injustices happening in future.