The smiles and the celebrations tell their own story. The focus is on success rather than the summer for Fabio Silva. If medals are earned and memories are made, the course of Silva’s career could change.

Silva’s stint in Glasgow was agreed as a short-term affair, a quickfire solution to a problem that had to be addressed as a matter of urgency. The Portuguese is only halfway through the arrangement, but it says much about his impact and his influence that the topic of a prolonged stay has already come to the fore. That does, of course, require more than one party to make it happen.

Silva is just 13 appearances into his Rangers career. His latest one saw him take his tally for Philippe Clement’s side to four goals and rounded off a showing that further endeared him to supporters.  There were few dissenting voices when Silva agreed a loan move from Wolverhampton Wanderers in the days before the January transfer window opened and recent weeks have only served to reaffirm the 21-year-old’s prowess and his potential.

It is only four seasons since Wolves were so enamoured by those qualities that they parted with £35million to sign the talked about talent from Porto. Silva extended his Molineux contract until the summer of 2026 before joining Anderlecht on loan in July 2022 and that added time on his terms means that no defining decisions will need to be made come the end of the current campaign. Rangers could, therefore, theoretically be in the running to secure his services for a second time if Gary O’Neil believes Silva doesn’t merit a place in his Premier League squad once again.

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Silva himself opened the door to a possible Ibrox return after scoring in the Scottish Cup win over Hibernian on Sunday evening, his clinical strike eight minutes from time ensuring progression to the last four after John Lundstram had opened the scoring in the first half. The Portuguese was watching on from afar while Clement’s side lifted the League Cup in December but he is very much part of the squad that is now moving towards a domestic Treble. A stint with PSV Eindhoven last season saw Silva add the KNVB Cup to the Primeira Liga and Taça de Portugal medals he won in his homeland and the lure of silverware, at a club where he is happy and appreciated, cannot be underestimated.

"I'm loving being here," Silva told BBC Scotland after the victory at Easter Road. "I don't control these things 100%. It's not 100% my decision to stay, if it was up to me then maybe yes. But I could say 'yes' and then you have a lot of things still to be taken care of.

"Perhaps I have the least input into whether I stay here but we have two months to enjoy the football, to win titles and I think after that, if we win trophies and everything goes well, Rangers and I will do everything for me to stay. When you see me playing with a smile on my face, I think everything's going the right way. I enjoy playing here, playing for the fans, the staff, my team-mates. It's a pleasure to be here. I enjoy it a lot. I've been trying to get back my happiness and they're giving me that."

Silva’s arrival at Ibrox came amid a backdrop of debate and discussion over where he would fit into Clement’s blueprint. The Belgian made it clear that he had been signed to operate as a number nine but some were sceptical that Silva would be able to score the level of goals required to win Rangers the title. The strengths in his game were known and quickly became evident, yet his record in Portugal, England, Belgium and Holland was used to cast doubt over his natural nous in the area.

A return of one goal in every three outings is not prolific but his strikes have come at important junctures in matches and the black and white numbers don't tell the full story of his input and impact. Clement has repeatedly been positive about his progression. Only his effort against Hearts, the fifth goal in a comprehensive win for Clement’s side, can be diminished in terms of significance. His first strike came on his fourth appearance as he broke the deadlock at home to Livingston and a week later, he extinguished Ayr United’s hopes of a Scottish Cup shock by doubling Rangers’ advantage in the closing stages at Ibrox.

The goal that secured a semi-final spot on Sunday was timely. Collecting the ball in the left channel, he shifted it onto his right and then beat David Marshall at his near post. As those in the away stand celebrated, Silva took a seat on the advertising board and savoured the adulation. The goal and the gratitude were well-earned once again.

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This was not Silva contributing as the focal point of the forward line. Instead, it was a big player coming up with a big moment when his manager and his team needed him to. When all the focus on preferred positions is parked to the side, it becomes clear what Silva brings to Rangers. Ultimately, he is a very good player and the more of them that Clement has, the greater chance the Belgian has of delivering the successes at home and abroad that looked so unlikely when Silva moved across the border.

Silva was initially recruited to provide another option through the middle. Clement had seen Danilo all-but ruled out for the campaign after undergoing knee surgery following the win at Tynecastle in early December, while doubts over Kemar Roofe’s robustness remain a pressing concern despite his return to action. In the weeks since Silva joined, Clement has lost Abdallah Sima, Todd Cantwell and Oscar Cortes for extended periods, and the likes of Ross McCausland, Dujon Sterling, Rabbi Matondo and Scott Wright have also succumbed to the Ibrox injury curse.

When push came to shove in Lisbon last week, Clement had no choice but to utilise Silva from the left and have him on the pitch at the same time as Cyriel Dessers. Silva was hugely influential on the night. His combination with Mohamed Diomande presented Tom Lawrence with the chance that was converted to open the scoring, before a defence-splitting pass that found Sterling saw Rangers re-establish a lead that was eradicated by Connor Goldson’s heading beyond Jack Butland. The last two outings perhaps encapsulate what Silva brings in terms of guile and goals.

His contribution will be key once again on Thursday evening. Rangers have come through the more difficult of the fixtures against Benfica but there is still so much to do to secure a place in the last eight of the Europa League. Clement will once again ask those who are fit to feature to delve into their mental and physical reserves. Silva can be relied upon in both regards and this occasion – in front of a raucous crowd and under the Ibrox floodlights – sees him return to a stage that he will compete on many more times over the course of his career.

"If you win, it's a big step in the competition,” Silva said. “You're through to the last eight. "For Rangers, for everyone, it's a big step. For the club, for the players - everyone wants to be on this stage. So we'll be ready for Thursday. It's going to be a good game, these games are always special. At Ibrox, even more so.

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"We have a lot more games left in our journey. Everyone has to switch mindset to be ready to play as we want to be in all the competitions. After the game against Benfica, we all spoke together in the dressing room. We tried to say this to everyone, we have to have this ambition in all the competitions, not just in the Europa League. In Europe, it's easy to have that mentality because everyone wants to play those games. You don't need motivation to play those games. We can do brilliant things this season.”

If those things are to be achieved, Silva will need to be fit and firing for Clement. The forward was always destined to be a mainstay of the side in the second half of the campaign but the weight on his shoulders has only increased as the walking wounded line has lengthened. Thankfully for Rangers, such a burden has become a way of life for a prodigious Portuguese talent.

Silva has given Rangers reasons to smile and celebrate thus far. He gives supporters reason to be enthused and optimistic of what could come. The future beyond the summer can be discussed at the relevant time. Right now, Silva has goals to score, medals to win and memories to make.