For some young fans, 14 years might seem akin to the moon landing but to others, it’s a mere blink of the eye. 

Amid the excitement of a Europa League semi-final, it was no surprise to see many callbacks to the last Rangers competed in. The return leg in Florence lives in the brain with a level of clarity few matches retain. 

It was a nerve-shredding affair but an apparently invisible shield around Neil Alexander’s goal that saw the Viola repelled despite waves of attack dripping with menace. 

Walter Smith’s side were moulded in his image of course. Strong, defiant, prepared and disciplined. They stood tall and came out the other side - with tears of joy in their eyes. They were battered but obdurate in the face of relentless scrutiny. 

Rangers played with an organisation and discipline last night that transported you back to those heady days but in truth, it was rarely as nervy as that warm evening in Tuscany. 

Until Angelino’s 85th minute goal, Connor Goldson and co. Kept the threat in front of them and while the drifting quality of Christopher Nkunku yielded two excellent chances there was never a loss of control. And that’s the core difference between the two sides. 

The 2008 team achieved the unthinkable in reaching the final in Manchester but to deny they scrapped and scraped their way there is to obscure history. While a combative and gritty side, there was more than a touch of fortune about their run. 

This Rangers team is different. You’d wager if the two sides were to play now, both at the peak of their powers, the current team would win comfortably.  

And that’s testament to the side Steven Gerrard built and Giovanni van Bronckhorst has taken forward. 

READ MORE: Domenico Tedesco Q+A: RB Leipzig boss on 'special' Ibrox and Rangers' long balls

This was not a defeat to be downcast about. The team clearly had a game plan to take the tie to Ibrox intact and they succeeded.  

It took a long-ranger howitzer to penetrate their rearguard and even then, the goal should have been ruled out given two offside Leipzig players were clearly in Allan McGregor’s sightline. VAR should have intervened to help the official but somehow didn’t pick up the clear and obvious issue. 

Regardless, for large portions of this game, the Bundesliga giants were exactly where van Bronckhorst wanted them. 

It’s hard to call a defeat a tactical masterclass, especially at a club where winning is so imbued in the DNA, but there can be no doubting the plan was executed with precision, if not finesse. 

The manager and key player Ryan Jack exuded quiet confidence in their post-match interviews and it’s not hard to see why. Ibrox has been touched by stardust this season. It’s the fortress of old once again in the knockout stages.  

RB Leipzig are clearly a quality team, but there wasn’t much evidence they are significantly better than those already dispatched. With the old ground pulsating and rocking, how will the Germans respond to the bear pit in full ferment? Rangers fans have seen their team earn the right to have confidence in both their play and the importance of their 12th man. 

The 2008 team reached out and grabbed their chance. Against Fiorentina they were hopelessly outmatched for class yet they made it work and will be feted for the rest of their lives. This Rangers team have nothing to fear of class with Leipzig, Frankfurt and West Ham left. Any of these combinations will be tightly contested.  

50 years after Barcelona, on the club’s 150th anniversary, you start to wonder if this story has been written in the stars.