COMING up short in their bid to reach the Champions League group stage on Wednesday night stung a bit for Rangers.

Exactly how much joining the likes of Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Real Madrid in Europe’s premier club competition is actually worth in pounds and pence is a moot point.

John Bennett, the Ibrox chairman, and Stewart Robertson, his then chief executive, certainly baulked at the figures which were bandied about on social media and in the mainstream media after they had qualified last year.

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Still, it is safe to say the achievement brings in tens of millions and gives the coffers of a Scottish club, particularly one which has wrestled with serious financial issues and suffered substantial annual losses in recent years, a significant and welcome boost.

Selling Nathan Patterson to Everton for £16m, receiving £4.25m from Aston Villa for their manager Steven Gerrard and his backroom staff and getting to the Europa League final, enabled Rangers to post an operating profit of £5.9m back in November. 

The transfers of Joe Aribo and Calvin Bassey to Southampton and Ajax respectively for £26m and being involved in the Champions League group stages for the first time since 2010 last year, should ensure their next set of figures once again make for pleasant reading for their followers.

Glasgow Times:

However, losing 5-1 to PSV Eindhoven in the second leg of the Champions League play-off in the Netherlands in midweek and being relegated to the Europa League, was a blow to the directors of the Govan outfit and no mistake.

Will they be able to remain in the black going forward? Their incomings will take a major hit as a result of the bitter disappointment. They do not appear to have any players in their squad who they can offload for an eight figure sum to generate funds at the present moment.

Could, though, the painful and embarrassing loss which Rangers suffered in the Philips Stadion ultimately end up being the best thing that could have happened to them and their manager Michael Beale?

It was glaringly obvious in the two meetings with Peter Bosz’s team that the side which Beale has assembled this summer is nowhere near good enough to go toe to toe with the cream of the continent just now. There are, as the old saying goes, lies, damned lies and statistics. But the 7-3 aggregate reverse told a story. 

PSV were drawn in Group B alongside Sevilla, Arsenal and Lens on Thursday evening. How would Rangers have fared against such quality Spanish, English and French opposition if they had managed to get through? There is every chance they would have struggled just as badly as they did last term when they lost all six of their games to Ajax, Liverpool and Napoli.

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The drubbings they suffered against their Eredivisie, Premier League and Serie A adversaries turned supporters against Giovanni van Bronckhorst. He ended up paying the price, despite having a crippling injury list and being forced to field teenager Leon King at centre half, and losing his job.

It remains to be seen how Rangers will fare in the Europa League in the coming months. The jury is still out on most of the new signings. Goalkeeper Jack Butland has certainly done well. Fans, though, are waiting patiently to see why their manager was so keen to secure the services of Jose Cifuentes, Danilo, Cyriel Dessers, Kieran Dowell, Abdullah Sima and Dujon Sterling.

But the second tier competition gives the new-look Rangers a far better chance of recording results, building confidence, keeping their notoriously demanding fans onside and possibly even progressing to the knockout rounds.

Facing top seeds Real Betis, who finished six places above Sevilla in La Liga last season, in Group C not be easy. But Sparta Prague of the Czech Republic and Aris Limassol of Cyprus are eminently beatable. A top two spot in the section and European football after Christmas is an achievable objective.

Glasgow Times:

Steven Gerrard, who Beale worked under at Ibrox, took three long years to prise the Scottish title from the grasp of Celtic. The draws and wins he oversaw against the likes of Rapid Vienna, Villarreal, Porto, Feyenoord, Braga, Willem II, Galatasaray, Benfica, Lech Poznan and Royal Antwerp in the Europa League helped to ensure he survived successive failures.

The experience the likes of Aribo, Bassey, James Tavernier, Conor Goldson, Borna Barisic, Leon Balogun, Ryan Jack, Ryan Kent, Glen Kamara, John Lundstram, Scott Arfield, Kemar Roofe, Fashion Sakala  and Alfredo Morelos gained in those encounters also proved invaluable when they faced Borussia Dortmund, Red Star Belgrade and RB Leipzig during their run to the final last year.

Beale, who will come under intense pressure if his men fail to prevail in the cinch Premiership match against Celtic at Ibrox tomorrow, may privately welcome the opportunity to work with his team in a slightly more forgiving environment than the Champions League.