A feeling that took root as they were comprehensively outplayed by a PSV in their pomp. To give the sense their Champions League play-off decider - which produced a 5-1 triumph for Dutch side exposing the chasm between the pair - was a non-contest between one team deserving of playing at the elite level and another no right to be anywhere but the tier below.
The Europa League will be the consolation for Michael Beale’s men but the reality is that they will be few to take from a pasting of the kind the Ibrox men were on the receiving end in their dreadful Champions League campaign of a year ago. And the outcome could have been a whole heap messier but for a series of Jack Butland stops as two-goal Ismael Saibari, Joey Veerman - his one goal scant return for a host of opportunities - and Johan Bakayoko posed Rangers questions for which they had no answers.
Only for a total of 91 seconds were Beale’s men ever in the tie. This passage beginning with James Tavernier sliding in to knock a Sam Lammers ball in from the left of the box and reduce the visitors’ deficit to 2-1 only for Luuk de Jong to capitalise on slack marking at a free-kick and nod in for his team’s third. A goal that allowed him to become the first PSV player to net in five consecutive European games.
The big striker ought to have opened his account earlier with Peter Bosz’s men taking complete charge midway through the first period. Finding spaces and opening these up with precision passing - especially down the Rangers right - the boot of Butland prevented Ibrahim Sangare from finishing off a move wherein a cross followed a ball in behind the exposed Tavernier. The Rangers captain offered no support by Jose Cifuentes. The warning wasn’t heeded from this 32nd minute scare and an almost identical move three minutes later - Veerman the supplier - allowed the untracked Saibari to open the scoring with a clean hit from the middle of the goal.
The Moroccan doubled his tally in the 53rd minute when Rangers were left looking statuesque when Jordan Teze flipped in a ball from the left flank that was met by de Jong at the back post. John Souttar was caught ball watching when the striker clipped it in, with the midfielder administering full punishment.
PSV had confidently predicted they would avenge their exit to the Ibrox men at the same juncture 12 months ago, and their bloodletting continued with Veerman arrowing into the corner for 4-1 in the 78th minute. The chaos then gave way to farce as Goldson stroked the ball into his own net as he attempted to knock it back to Butland who had played out to him as home players were in close attention. Although Rabbi Matondo had a delightful run that ended with him cracking the goal frame, Beale’s men were fortunate to escape the loss of a sixth in the closing minutes.
A skirmish between Nicolas Raskin - part of a Rangers midfield simply swamped - and Noa Lang ensued at full time. It was about the only real fight that the Ibrox men were able to demonstrate all evening.