THE outcome of the match against Galatasaray at Ibrox this evening is of obvious importance to Rangers both financially and reputationally with qualification for the Europa League group stages on the line.

But do the Govan club’s chances of coming out on top of the Premiership this season - and preventing their Glasgow rivals Celtic from making history by winning a record 10th consecutive Scottish title come next May - depend on victory too?

Steven Gerrard has strengthened his squad considerably this summer by bringing in Leon Balogun, Ianis Hagi, Cedric Itten, Jon McLaughlin and Kemar Roofe. He will be confident of his current charges challenging strongly for the league title in the coming months if he is unable to make any fresh acquisitions.

Remaining involved in Europe, though, could enable him to bring in further quality additions before the transfer window closes on Monday and possibly even eliminate the need for any of his star performers to be sold.

The potential ramifications of the result against Turkish opponents who have competed in the Champions League group stages in six of the past seven seasons for Rangers add a layer of intrigue to what promises to be an intense encounter.

“I have made it pretty clear what I think we need,” said Gerrard yesterday. “I have made it pretty clear what we need to keep moving forward. We can’t stand still.

“But I also respect the club’s position in the current climate and the situation we are in. I do think that what we try and do for the final days would depend on whether we qualify or not. This is a huge fixture for us. It is vitally important that we try and get through and come out victorious.”

Beating Galatasaray is, despite having home advantage, a big ask for Rangers. Gerrard is well aware of the challenge the visitors present. Still, he is quietly confident his team, emphatic 4-0 winners of Willem II in the Netherlands last week, are well placed to achieve their objective.

“Galatasaray are a good team,” he said. “They have fantastic players and a good coach. Galatasaray are a world-known team with big experience on the European stage. They have a really strong spine to their team.

“We know it is going to be a tough test for us. Galatasaray are probably everyone’s favourites but what I would say is that we are going into this game in a good place. We are in good form at home so our plan is to leave everything out there and see where it takes us.

“The players are happy. It’s good to have a couple of faces back to join to squad (Brandon Barker and Ryan Jack returned to full training this week). The players are going into this fixture in a good place. The mood is good.”

Gerrard certainly has, whether Jack comes in to his starting line-up or not, complete faith in the ability of the Rangers midfield, of Scott Arfield in particular, to compete with their Galatasaray counterparts.

"I am proud of the whole squad as we have had injuries to big players,” he said. “They haven't looked for any kind of excuse. They have stepped up, stepped forward and shown major character to deliver some big performances.

"But the main player I would like to mention has to be Scott Arfield. At the beginning of the season he wasn't picked as a starter. But at no moment did he drop his standards or attitude.

“He took it as a challenge to win his place back. He trained harder and better, and his opportunity came. Scott has arguably been our most consistent player over the last run of games.

"I'm really pleased at how he has gone about his business and he's sent a clear message to anyone else on the fringe or not getting a lot of game-time. A lot of players speak in the press, Scott did his talking on the training pitch and in games, which was fantastic for me.”

Gerrard will also pit his wits personally against a formidable adversary in Fatih Terim. The 67-year-old, who is in his third spell in charge of the Istanbul club he led to UEFA Cup glory in 2000, is widely regarded as one of the best coaches in the world. But his opposite number is relishing the prospect of having “Imparator” in the away dugout.

“It will be a proud moment,” he said. “He’s a manager I have looked up to for many years. He’s had many spells at Galatasaray and that’s for a reason. He’s highly regarded and has had success there on numerous occasions.

“He is certainly a figurehead for young coaches in the game and is someone I have huge respect for. It will be nice to meet him in the flesh. But I’m on the side of the pitch to do a job. I certainly won’t be looking to my left on Thursday night, I’ll be looking to my team to see if we can get the right result.”

If the man who has led Rangers through four Europa League qualifying rounds and into the group stages in the past two years is celebrating at the end of the 90 minutes he will be looking to his board for fresh funds for new players.

If Galatasaray prove to be deserved favourites he may have to look to the players he already has at his disposal to lead the push for that elusive piece of domestic silverware in the 2020/21 campaign.