Yet even if an uneasy watcher is the status he will be restricted to as the Ibrox men seek to repeat that feat on Wednesday, that will come easier to him than what followed the club reaching the group stages. The 29-year-old, sustaining an Achilles tendon problem in the very next game to plunge him in a horrendous time with injuries that only ended with the “relief” of the weekend bringing him his first competitive minutes since. Against the same Ross County team as his last game, precisely a year to the day since that outing.
Lawrence, omitted from the squad for the decider in the Philips Stadion in midweek as he continues to build to full fitness, would be entitled to consider that the Fates owe him Michael Beale’s side pushing past PSV as he was central to Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s team doing 12 months ago. The then new arrival from Derby County netting in the 2-2 home first leg, before putting in a real shift - and hitting the bar - in the triumphant return leg. Owe him, belatedly, the opportunity to play in the Champions League denied to him for his efforts last August.
“Maybe”, he said to that sugestion. “But that’s just football, it’s how it goes sometimes. A lot of people have bad injuries but I’d love to play in the Champions League - I’m not going to hide that. But I’m pretty positive that the lads can do it. Missing those Champions League hurt. It hurt a lot. But look, every game I want us to win no matter who is playing. That’s the main thing. As a collective squad in that dressing room, we’re all behind each other no matter who has got the jersey. That’s the way it should be.
“That night in Eindhoven was very special. It had been a long time since the club had been in the Champions League so to be involved that night was amazing. Obviously I didn’t plan what happened after that. I’d have loved to have been part of those Champions League games but it wasn’t to be. But I hope now the lads can get through and I can play a part in them this time. The club is on the verge of it again. One big performance can take us back. We’ve done it once, so why not do it again?
“I’ll be honest, I’m not a good watcher. I just want to be out there helping the lads. I’m hoping we can get an early goal and I can be nice and relaxed. Look, I’m always supportive of the lads. I’m 29 now, I’ve been through the young steps in my career and I know how much the support helps the lads.”
Lawrence is grateful for the support right throughout the club across his “terrible year” that never doubted would end with him coming back stronger. That is how he feels now - mentally and physically - as he expects to be fully up to speed following the international break. “I’ve always been driven,” he said. “That’s been me since I was little. I’ve always had that mentality that I can get to the best I can be. And I do think I can get back to my best performances.”