THEY may well be heroes in the eyes of the Rangers support at the moment after sweeping aside Braga in Portugal on Wednesday night with an accomplished all-round display to book a money-spinning place in the last 16 of the Europa League.

Yet, Steven Gerrard knows that failing to overcome Hearts in their William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final at Tynecastle, a ground they have failed to win at on their two previous visits this season, this evening will see the mood in the stands change.

Having fallen 12 points behind Celtic in the Ladbrokes Premiership in recent weeks due to some poor displays, Gerrard appreciates that the Scottish Cup could be the Ibrox club’s last chance to land silverware this season.

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Asked if the competition presented the best opportunity for Rangers to lift a trophy, he said: “Possibly, possibly. We take each game as it comes and we go from there.

“We have a really exciting draw to look forward to in Europe and we have progressed well in that competition. We have progressed in the League Cup, but, unfortunately, we couldn’t get over that final hurdle. The performance on the day was fantastic. Of course, I am disappointed with where we are in the league as of now.

"But there are still games to play. It’s about churning out results and performance and seeing where it takes us. There is no point in looking too far ahead. We just need to look to Hearts as that’s the next game.

“It would be nice to reward the fans with another trip to Hampden. The fans in midweek blew us away, the support was incredible. So I want that to be on the players’ minds going into the game at Tynecastle.”

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Rangers games against Hearts at their Gorgie ground are seldom tame affairs and the atmosphere in this encounter promises to be particularly intense due to the recent history between the two rivals and the fact it is an evening kick-off.

Gerrard knows that the visitors - who will have their temperamental striker Alfredo Morelos, who missed the Braga match in midweek due to a suspension, available again – must keep their cool in order to progress to the semi-final and will stress that to them before kick-off.

“We’ve really suffered from ill-discipline and a lack of composure in these types of environments," he said.

“We are really excited for this game, we enjoy the environment at Tynecastle and the atmosphere, I think it’s a fantastic stadium. In any game, home or away, we always stress the importance of keeping a cool head because the job is tough enough with losing someone through ill discipline. We’ve suffered enough from that.”

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Gerrard is trying to figure out how his team can beat Braga, the form team in the Primeira Liga this season, home and away in Europe, but have dropped points against the likes of Aberdeen, Hearts, Kilmarnock and St Johnstone domestically.

However, he is confident that Rangers are in a better place now than they were on their last visit to the capital, when they were without Morelos and James Tavernier and Ryan Jack limped off after 45 minutes, and will rise to the occasion.

“I don’t want to sit here and make excuses,” he said. “I believe we went to Tynecastle on both occasions with enough in terms of the squad and personnel to perform better and get a better result or a more suitable result.

“But it is nice to have a Ianis Hagi available, hopefully we will have Ryan Jack available for the full game rather than a half and there is an outside chance of having Jermain Defoe available which gives us more firepower.

"In terms of the shape of the whole squad we are not far from having everyone available. Fil (Helander) is probably a week away all being well. He is in the final week of his rehab. We are getting really close to having a full-strength squad which is really important.”

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Gerrard added: “We need to go into Tynecastle very respectful of the challenge that’s in front of us. But it’s quite clear the message to the players for this one is that if we go there and we don’t show our level and what we’re about then we will find complications again. Hearts will want to be the team to knock us out of this competition. We need to be ready for that.”

“I think we have got a real honest group of players in the dressing room and more often than not they give you everything they’ve got. I think it would be very disrespectful to accuse them of that. But there have been games where we haven’t hit the heights we would have liked and haven’t got the results we would have wanted for that.

“It is my job to try and eradicate those type of performances. The players know when they’re not at it individually and collectively. We have also suffered at times from real big individual mistakes that we need to try and eradicate as well. That will give us a much better chance of getting the results we want.”