STEVEN GERRARD insists he won’t prioritise Rangers’ domestic ambitions ahead of their European aspirations due to the importance of continental success in the long run for the club.

The Ibrox boss has guided his side through eight qualifiers in his first two campaigns as Rangers have reached the group stages of the Europa League in back-to-back seasons.

Gerrard’s side went one better last term as they beat Braga before being knocked out in the last 16 by Bayer Leverkusen as they lost home and away either side of the Coronavirus shutdown.

Rangers head into their second qualifying round clash with Lincoln Red Imps tomorrow top of the Premiership after an unbeaten start to the league campaign.

But Gerrard is fully aware of what another extended European run will mean on and off the park as he looks to juggle the need for title glory with the requirement to impress on the continent.

Gerrard said: “That’s a very difficult question. We all know how important the league is every single year.

“That goes without saying but what people need to understand is that, for us, European football is vital. It’s key to the club moving forward.

“So, at this stage, there’s no possible way that I can prioritise in terms of one competition against the other. People need to realise that for this club to function in a healthy way we need to be successful in qualifying for European competitions.

“That’s going to be a bigger challenge this year because we don’t have the luxury of two-legged ties or the luxury of having 50,000 Rangers fans behind us at Ibrox.

“We’ve maybe had a bit of luck with the draw but it will still be more testing and challenging because these are one-off games.

“Obviously, we’re not seeded so we might need to progress through rounds two and three and who knows what could be waiting for us at the final hurdle?”

Rangers have banked several million pounds from each of their two Europa League campaigns and that money has been reinvested in the squad as the likes of Ryan Kent and Kemar Roofe have moved to Ibrox in successive summers.

There will be a different dynamic to the qualification ties this time around but Gerrard knows the lure of European action is still strong for those he seeks to bring on board.

He said: “When you sit down with players and try and persuade players to sign for Rangers, they do want to have a European experience and they want to sample Ibrox on a Thursday night and they want to travel around the continent, testing themselves against the best players.

“Going back to your earlier question about prioritising domestic competitions over the Europa League, when it gets to 7.45pm on a Thursday and you’re about to play Porto home and away, it would be impossible to do as Rangers manager.

“That’s because the fans love European football home and away and the two journeys we’ve been on have been major highlights of our stay here.

“In an ideal world, I would like to have a squad that’s capable of being successful on both fronts.”