A win, plenty of encouragement and second-place still achievable.

Rangers’ Europa League campaign had stuttered its way towards matchday three – but the halfway vantage point is optimistic.

Yesterday's 2-0 win over Brondby was the team’s best 90 minutes of the campaign. This season’s tale featured more nearly moments on Sunday evening against Hearts – leaving a dissatisfying interlude to play out in the meantime.

That and the context of these past two months put demands high before kick-off. A failure to get all three points would have been detrimental to any aspiration of reaching the last 32.

It wasn’t the most explosive or dramatic Thursday night Ibrox has hosted in recent years – but of this season it was the most pleasing and professional. And at the heart of it all was Joe Aribo.

The midfielder was very close to his best. Impossible to defend against when an unfortunate defender found themselves one-on-one and direct to drive forward in possession.

When Lyon visited previously he slowed attacks down – last night he was the highest gear in the Rangers’ collective.

Without the inclusion of a player in the front line capable of going past a man, Aribo was the team's rule breaker. Taking them forwards, bypassing lines and providing end product. 

“I thought Joe really flexed his muscles tonight. I thought he played angry in a good way and really dominated all over the pitch – especially in the first 45 minutes and at times in the second half,” Steven Gerrard said.

READ MORE: Detailed Rangers player ratings as Joe Aribo steals the show with impressive display at Ibrox

Gerrard almost snarled in his compliment - underlining the value of that aggression. When as strong on the ball and in the duel as he was last night, Aribo is near unplayable.

Such consistent channelled anger on the pitch will take him to the level his on-ball qualities merit.

Early in the game, it became apparent that the right-hand side looked the favoured route to goal.

More often under the tenure of Gerrard, it’s been the left that has embodied better formed on-pitch relationships. But with two strikers to hit and no obvious candidate to fill in for Ryan Kent, Aribo and James Tavernier provided the roadmap.

The latter would provide for Leon Balogun to score with an imperious near-post header to settle nerves and set the tone within 20 minutes – but more was needed.

Scoring the first hasn’t been problematic – it’s been the failure to profit from evergreen spells that has seen one-sided performances only yield a point of late.

As the clock struck 30 the second goal which has so often alluded, arrived.

After combining with Tavernier, Aribo swivelled in behind and found Alfredo Morelos. Goal 100 wasn't to be - but Kemar Roofe made sure, courtesy of a VAR revision.

The goal gave a platform. Making the second half less focused on retention - allowing the continuation of a freedom on the ball displayed during the first period.

None showed that more than the captain, who "grew into the game" according to his manager.

READ MORE: John Lundstram's Rangers turnaround is a reminder of the need for perspective - Four Lads Had a Dream

Tavernier’s link-up play was the best it’s been since Livingston visited Ibrox in late July – playing quickly on instinct to move his team forwards.

Despite Borna Barisic’s breath-drawing backpass which was not exposed – the second half was largely resemblant of the first.

Space became more managed as time wore on, but Brondby scarcely enjoyed sustained pressure around the penalty box. 

Aribo should have had a penalty when tripped in the penalty area and Scott Arfield cracked the bar after entering play. Instead of clinging on, the home side was able to go for more.

“The picture of the game was more or less as we expected,” Brondby manager Niels Frederiksen commented.

“We knew beforehand we had to defend on set-pieces where they’re very strong and also on crosses, where we also know they’re very strong. And they scored two goals out of these situations."

Proof from the horse's mouth that Rangers played to their strengths and capitalised.

The challenge now is to emulate a similar 90-minute showing in a fortnight against the same opponents. Plenty more muscle and channelled anger will be required to earn the same outcome.