IT has been a steady if unspectacular start to life at Rangers for George Edmundson. It has also been an encouraging one, though, as the defender looks to go from strength.

There are far tougher challenges, and far more important ones, ahead for Edmundson and Steven Gerrard’s side this term. But the friendly with Blackburn gave supporters more reasons to be optimistic when it comes to one of their new centre-halves and the Light Blues.

This draw with Rovers marked the first time this term that Rangers haven’t won but the result wasn’t important here. The match minutes and the fitness and sharpness gained were what mattered most and there were reasons for Gerrard to be pleased with a decent workout.

The same can be said for Edmundson. His own performance didn’t put him in the running for Man of the Match, but it certainly didn’t do his reputation any harm, either.

Having made the move north of the border from Oldham earlier this summer, there is less pressure on Edmundson than there is Filip Helander, who followed him into Ibrox from Bologna in a £3million deal a fortnight ago.

But that doesn’t mean that the 21-year-old isn’t just as determined to impress and catch the eye this term.

This was the third friendly - following wins over Oxford and Marseille - that Rangers have played in recent weeks, while they also have the comfortable Europa League victories against St Joseph’s to their credit.

A second half equaliser from Lewis Travis gave Tony Mowbray’s side a share of the spoils and the goal was one of the few times that Rangers really looked troubled.

As Gerrard reflected on the action, there were positives and negatives for him to take at Ibrox.

And Edmundson can be satisfied with his own showing and contribution as he reflects on another outing in Light Blues.

He said: “I thought it was a good test and Blackburn are a good team so it shows that we need to improve some things.

“I think it also shows that we have worked on a lot of things and that we are getting how the manager wants us to play. It was a really good test.

“There is still two weeks of pre-season left and I know we have got the European game on Thursday but we are still in pre-season.

“I feel that I am stepping up and getting fitter each day and each week but I have still got more to give.

“I thought [my performance] was alright. There were a few sloppy moments individually and as a team but there are things that we will work on and we will get better at.”

The series of friendly games, which also include behind-closed-doors encounters with Mansfield and TNS, in recent weeks have given Gerrard plenty of chances to use the large squad that he now has at his disposal.

It has been a productive summer for the Light Blues boss as he has added strength and depth to his ranks and the group he has in place is the strongest that Rangers have been able to field for several years.

The most recent acquisition - Swedish stopper Helander - was handed his debut as a second half substitute as he replaced Edmundson and partnered Nikola Katic for the last half hour.

With the start of the Premiership campaign now looming large, Gerrard has some tough decisions to make in terms of his starting line-up.

That is certainly the case at the heart of his defence as Connor Goldson also competes for a jersey.

Edmundson has a fight on his hands but the Englishman is confident he can rise to the challenge.

He said: “At a club the size of this, it is not going to be easy and there is going to be competition all over the park. It is only natural.

“I think it will push each of us. If there are just two of you, you know that you are going to start. Because there are four now, everyone is fighting for a place and that is good to have.

“It is [bigger than I first envisaged] but you play football to play for clubs like this and be at the top level. I am ready for the step.”

It was at half-time during the win over Marseille last weekend that the Ibrox crowd got their first sighting of Helander as he was unveiled and presented as a Rangers player.

The 26-year-old is behind his Gers team-mates in terms of his fitness and sharpness and it is unlikely that he will be handed a start when Progres Niederkorn make the trip to Ibrox on Thursday night for the first leg of their Europa League qualifier.

That will leave Edmundson vying for a spot with Goldson and Katic as Rangers look to record another victory and set themselves up for the return match in Luxembourg.

In time, it is expected that Helander will move up the pecking order and it would be a surprise if the former Malmo and Verona stopper doesn’t establish himself sooner rather than later. Gerrard, though, has insisted that there are no first picks, no automatic selections, week to week.

Whatever the starting combination, there are pleasant problems for Gerrard to solve.

“He has looked good,” Edmundson said of Helander. “He is good on the ball and aggressive. I didn’t see much of him play because I was doing my gym stuff but he has looked good in training. He is a really nice lad and I am sure he will only get better.

“There are loads of players that I can learn from, and the gaffer as well. JD (Defoe), Connor, there are people that I have been picking their brains every day at training. I can only get better.”