THE European nights I had at Rangers were some of the best of my career and the start of any campaign is always an exciting time at Ibrox.

I know there is a bit of debate amongst the supporters about how important the Europa League is for Rangers this season and how much emphasis Steven Gerrard should put on it. As the manager said last week, he won’t overlook the Europa League and he certainly won’t treat any competition that Rangers enter lightly. You just can’t do that.

This is a club that has to win things and every tournament that we are in, we have to go out to win it and bring the silverware to Ibrox.

You can’t sacrifice the Europa League to give you a better chance in the Premiership and you can’t downplay either of the domestic cups to try and win the league. That is not the attitude at Rangers.

It was great to have European football back at Ibrox last season and the manager and the players will be just as determined to reach the group stages as they were last term.

There was obviously a financial benefit to that run 12 months ago and the club would have made a few quid out of the qualifiers and the group games with Rapid Vienna, Spartak Moscow and Villarreal.

But it was important from a prestige point of view for Rangers to be back in a European competition and we have to target another group stage appearance this season. Once there, you have to look to qualify.

The only way Rangers are going to continue to improve is when better players come in and being in Europe is one way to help pay for and attract that calibre of player.

Yes, the Premiership is so important for Rangers this season. It is crucial that they win one of the Scottish Cup or Betfred Cup as well because we haven’t won anything for too long now.

But that doesn’t mean that you just forget about Europe. You can’t start prioritising one ahead of the other at Rangers, you have to go out and give every game and every competition your best shot.

The suggestion that you forego something to try and win something else is absolute nonsense and Rangers will be going out there in every game to win it.

Steven Gerrard would never sacrifice anything in football as a player and he won’t do as a manager because he knows how important silverware is to Rangers.

Rangers have always been a winning club and the quicker we get back to doing that regularly the better. Every competition is a chance to do that and we want to win every medal that we can.

Look at the number of players in the squad that hadn’t played in Europe before last season and how much they enjoyed that experience.

In the end, they would have been disappointed not to qualify so they will want to progress that one step further and go as far as they can second time around.

The players will be relishing these qualifiers and the chance to get to the Europa League once again.

If, further down the line, they want to move on, then having European experience will pay dividends for them as well.

It is important for everyone that we do well in Europe and the manager, the staff and the players will give it everything they have got over the next few weeks to get through the four ties.

If you have the attitude that a competition doesn’t matter or isn’t important, then you have no chance of being successful in it or achieving what you want to achieve. This season, Rangers have to achieve.