A defeat is never welcome or acceptable at Rangers - regardless of the opposition.

That’s life at Ibrox and those are the demands we put on our squad of players. The truth is, however, that this week’s exit from the Europa League could be a blessing in disguise. Even if we all wanted to be in the next round of the competition and go on another famous journey.

The two feelings are not mutually exclusive, certainly not for this writer. Just one look at the teams left in the hat is enough to confirm the latter opinion. A home-and-away tie with Liverpool where they could flex their muscles and offer us another chastening is far from appealing. Two more games which, physically and mentally, we don’t need at a time when the domestic season is close to seeing the chequered flag wave.

In reality, Philippe Clement’s squad is running on empty at the moment and the injuries are stacking up. Is that an excuse? It can still be true while the disappointment of defeat settles in.

Rangers have probably beaten better teams than Benfica in recent European campaigns and played the Portuguese side during a time in the season where they looked a little bit vulnerable. A side who went deep into the Champions League last season only edging us by one goal over two legs of the last 16 tie is proof we’re on the right track, however.

The truth is, uncomfortable as it may be to admit, every one of us knows this squad lacks the sufficient quality required for a night like Thursday. Or, and I don’t say this lightly, a proper sustained treble chase domestically.

And yet, that’s exactly what they’re doing.

Perhaps that’s why the full-time reaction of the support was so positive as Ibrox remained behind to show their appreciation in midweek. There was naturally frustration during the closing stages of the match but everyone in that stadium knows every ounce of support is going to be required to keep this domestic challenge going.

READ MORE: Rangers took a big risk at corners against Benfica - this error ultimately cost them

At the same time, every supporter knows we’re relying on players who aren’t good enough for the long term and lack the real killer instinct required. I’m not singling out individuals because whether they are good enough or not, each member of this squad is giving everything and each one of us can appreciate that.

What’s indisputable is that the quality of goals Rangers let in over two legs against Benfica was unacceptable. Meanwhile, the lack of quality from set-pieces, with Rafa Silva’s goal actually deriving from one of our attacking corners, was glaring. That situation desperately needs rectifying because it’s becoming tiresome.

We also need a little bit more aggression and a lot more ruthlessness in the final third. Rangers require one final big effort in the early kick-off tomorrow before a chance to recharge and recuperate for the domestic run-in.

When discussing the fall-out from our last league game, a home defeat against Motherwell, I asked for everything over two legs against Benfica, progression from a tricky Scottish Cup tie in Edinburgh against Hibs and a return to winning ways at Dundee. With our Europa League journey only just coming to an end, three points in Dundee is all we’re missing before the international break. It’s vital that Rangers enter that fortnight top of the pile.

The European exit stings, Rangers had an opportunity to make more of Thursday’s game but the lack of quality available to Clement in the final third was so apparent.

Desire and heart were both seen in abundance and that pairing, with a little more poise on the ball, has to keep powering the title charge. There’s so much possibility between now and the end of the season. Two trophies are still very much in our hands.

Rangers Review:

Let’s hope the team takes the reaction from supporters at full-time to drive them on for the rest of the season - one in which each member of this squad can become a hero.

Everything from Everyone is what we asked for and it's what we are getting. Three points tomorrow please, Rangers.