WE watched the end of a cycle unfold in front of our eyes at Hampden. 

It’s almost easier to name the stars whose futures aren’t in question come the summer given the multitude of unresolved contract situations at Ibrox. 

Out of contract stalwarts Steven Davis, Allan McGregor and Connor Goldson seem about to retire or walk out the door under freedom of contract. 

Ryan Kent, Joe Aribo and Alfredo Morelos have one year left on their deals and will surely be sold to fund a rebuild of the team in Giovanni van Bronckhort’s image and avoid the scenario that will see multi-million-pound asset Goldson leave for nothing. 

Calvin Bassey has two years left but is being tracked by a number of elite clubs interested in his cheat code combination of power and pace that helped him stand out so spectacularly in the European theatre. 

It’s hard to imagine given the titanic scale of his showing in Seville, and throughout the season, there won’t be significant offers in the post.  

As painful as such an event would be for Rangers fans, the club is in pole position to secure a record fee for the 22-year-old who has become one of the hottest properties in European football since the arrival of the manager in November. 

Of course, this could be resolved if Bassey, who is believed to be among the lowest earners in the first team, signs a new deal reflective of his current stature. 

It’s a nice idea, but probably not in sync with the realities of modern football when truly big clubs come calling. 

So a massive summer of upheaval is about to take place, with the team that Steven Gerrard built in its twilight hours. 

How then, is the last four years to be assessed? 

READ MORE: Rangers end their undefinable season with a sure cause to celebrate - Joshua Barrie

Some will say that two trophies in this period is simply not a good enough return.  

They are both right and wrong. 

Domestically, this group have sometimes struggled to meet the unique challenges faced in the Scottish scene. There can be no argument about this. 

Facing low blocks is the bread and butter staple of Rangers’ domestic grind and it’s been successful too often in keeping attacking efforts at bay. 

Now totally stabilised, a club of Rangers’ stature will have to collect a much better ratio of trophy victories in the years ahead - but we have to be cognizant of a wider picture and the club’s place in it. 

The traditional mindset of Scotland is to pit everything Rangers do against Celtic and vice-versa. It’s easy and neat and fits into how our fathers saw the game and their fathers before that. 

But you get a sense the generation of fans raised in the satellite TV, FIFA and Football Manager age aspires for more. Far less parochial, they put greater emphasis on the kind of European achievement that has dramatically raised the profile of both Rangers and Scottish football. 

Barry Ferguson’s antediluvian suggestion that he’d rather win the league than a European trophy was met with almost total derision from a groaning fan base. I’m not sure the reaction would have been so unified 20 years ago. 

This squad, warts and all, are part of the reason for that. 

And it wasn't Dortmund, Braga or Leipzig; it goes all the way back to 2018 and facing Macedonian outfit FK Shkupi.  

The side whose foundations were put in place then were reflective of the mindset of former boss Steven Gerrard. 

The Scouser’s idea of football has been forged in the fires of elite level competition and he was never going to be satisfied with merely achieving success in Scotland. 

His commitment to re-establishing the club as a European force undoubtedly compromised the domestic trophy tally. 

But at the end of this era, ten years on from the debacle of 2012, we can say Rangers are not only back, but stronger than ever. 

The finances are in order. 

Ibrox is both widely admired and feared as a place to visit in opposition. 

The fans' reputation has rarely been better – you only have to look at the way the Ibrox experience has quickly become the ultimate Youtuber pilgrimage for evidence of that. 

There’s a rebuild coming alright, but never let it be said this group hasn’t achieved for the club. 

You just have to be prepared to look a little deeper to fully see it. 

I like to think about it like this: Rangers' final European game before this era began saw Pedro Caixinha remonstrating with fans while standing in a bush after a first qualifying round defeat to Progres Niederkorn.  

Their own was a loss on penalties in the final of a major European competition. 

Case closed.