STEVEN GERRARD reckons Rangers’ draw with Villarreal will further boost the confidence levels within his Ibrox ranks.

The Light Blues got their Europa League campaign off to a terrific start in Spain as goals from Scott Arfield and Kyle Lafferty earned a 2-2 draw.

Gerrard has insisted that his side are not in Group G to make up the numbers this term and was delighted with a huge result on the opening night of action.

He said: “I don’t think that message is important and sending messages out to other people isn’t important.

“The important thing for me is that they believe in that dressing room and are sending messages to each other that they are capable of getting out of this group.

“It is a tough group, it is not going to be given to us. We have to come to difficult places like this and put points on the board and then we have to use our fans and our atmosphere and intensity and home and see if we can take teams out of their comfort zone.

“The return fixture is in December. It will be a cold night at Ibrox and it wont be a nice place for any opposition to come. We are really looking forward to that and the players have to believe they can go and win the game.”

Rangers twice fell behind to strikes from Carlos Bacca and Gerard Moreno but dug deep to earn a share of the spoils at the Estadio de la Cerámica.

The Gers were far from their best against their La Liga hosts but rose to the challenge to earn an unexpected share of the spoils.

Gerrard said: “I was concerned at half-time that we were going to have regrets after the game because I felt when we won the ball back we never kept it well enough, we never had enough belief.

"We were getting into really good areas but we were crossing the ball maybe over-hitting it or we maybe had only one man in the box. We didn’t really have enough belief in ourselves that we could go and cause the opposition problems.

"From half-time we went and did it and we could maybe have scored a few more goals. It was a crazy end to the game because we could have won it with Scott Arfield but at the same time we could have lost it. I think that would have been really harsh on us after our second half performance we certainly deserved a point tonight.”

Gerrard handed defender Joe Worrall his first start for Rangers following his deadline day loan switch from Nottingham Forest.

And he hailed the 21-year-old for a solid showing on his bow as he replaced Nikola Katic at the heart of the Gers defence.

Gerrard said: “I put him right in the deep end. He was in a sink or swim situation.

“When a manager gives you your debut away in the Europa League, against a side of this level, it was a big ask for him to come in and perform. I thought he was outstanding.

“He was very comfortable in possession and defended well, bar the first goal. It’s difficult to criticise him as it was a bit of a lucky deflection.

“Buy I thought he was outstanding for his first game. With a new signing, you would ideally try and ease them in.

“Niko has given a lot since coming in the door. He has had a big schedule for a young lad and has looked a bit jaded after international duty.

"We wanted to give him a bit of help tonight and Joe looked as if he had been around for a long time.”