STEVEN Gerrard has urged Rangers supporters to help the Ibrox club to pay the ultimate tribute to Fernando Ricksen - by roaring his side to victory over Dutch giants Feyenoord tonight.

Gerrard led the tributes to Ricksen yesterday after it was announced the former midfielder had passed away at the age of just 43 following a long and brave battle with motor neurone disease.

The Liverpool and England great’s team play their opening Europa League group match in Govan this evening and it promises to be a highly-charged occasion.

He is keen for Rangers to honour the memory of one of their favourite sons by getting their Group G campaign off to a winning start – and he wants the fans to play their part.

“I’m sure there will be a lot of emotions in the stadium and Fernando deserves that,” said Gerrard. “I’m sure both sets of supporters will pay their respects and we ask the supporters to get right behind the team because it would be a nice tribute to him if we could put in a good performance and try and get maximum points.

“Everyone knows before a ball is kicked if that was the case we would certainly dedicate it to Fernando and his family. He’s a Rangers man. He stayed in this country after his career finished which showed his connection with the supporters and the people of Glasgow.

“It’s still very raw, we only found the news when we came off the training pitch and it’s very sad and I’m sure the supporters are very sad at this time and as those responsible for the performance against Feyenoord, we want to do everything we can to get a win and dedicate it to him.”

Gerrard played against Ricksen when England drew 11 in a friendly against the Netherlands in Amsterdam back in 2002 and had also met him after he had taken over as Rangers manager.

“I was very sad to hear the news,” he said. “I was well aware of the situation. Fernando had been ill for a long time and we always got regular updates.

“I saw with my own eyes at the training ground the situation he was in and the suffering he was going through. He deteriorated very much in the last six or seven days and was in a lot of pain and was very stressed. No-one likes to hear that news. Myself, my staff and all the players were very sad to hear the news.”

Asked what his personal memories of Ricksen were, Gerrard said: “Only playing against him as a player and watching from afar him playing for Rangers as a club.

“I used to watch a lot of games. I saw the type of player he was, what he used to give to the team, the sacrifices he used to make. Then obviously you have your memories of late.

“We saw him suffering when he was in a wheelchair. He came to visit the players at the training ground. You could see the pain he was going through so it wasn’t a nice experience.”

Defeating Feyenoord, who are managed by former Manchester United centre half Jaap Stam, won't be easy for Rangers despite their impressive form in qualifying.

But Gerrard, who has Ryan Jack available for selection after the midfielder recovered from the knee injury he picked up on Scotland duty, is confident they can.

“We want to compete, we want to show what this club is all about," he said. "The only thing we can do is break the group down and take each game as it comes.

“We are at home for the opener, which could be important. We have the opportunity to get off to a really good, positive start by trying to take all three points.

“If we do, it sets us up for game two. We all sat round the canteen at Auchenhowie waiting for the group stage draw and when it was made, we spoke about it being a tough group with some good teams in it.

“But I don’t think it’s impossible to get out of the group. To do that, we have to find a consistent level. In Europa League football, you won’t get away with putting in an average performance against these kind of teams, individually or collectively. You will be punished for it."

Meanwhile, Gerrard revealed that Ryan Kent, who suffered a hamstring strain against Livingston at the weekend, will be out of action for a fortnight.

“He is improving," he said. "He is now pain free and walking around. I still think he will be a couple of weeks away. He has got a hamstring problem. They are obviously tricky. They are injuries that you can’t really rush. You have to be patient. But he is improving.”