Rangers may be close to rekindling their relationship with the Scottish Premiership title but Steven Gerrard admits it was the Europa League which got his blood pumping in midweek.
Gers continued their passionate affair with continental action on Thursday night as they edged out a 4-3 thriller with Royal Antwerp.
It was a night full of ups and downs but Gerrard’s men claimed a precious away win which has the Ibrox legions dreaming of a happy ever-after on the road to Gdansk.
Yet the Light Blues’ priority this season is to be reunited with an old flame they have not held tight in 10 years as they seek domestic bliss with the Premiership crown.
Victory over Dundee United on Sunday will mean they need just three more wins to cross the finishing line.
But Gerrard insists it is possible to have two loves at the same time as he reflected on Gers’ hot and steamy night in Flanders.
“I absolutely loved Thursday night,” said the former Champions League winner, whose side welcome Antwerp back to Glasgow for the second leg of their last-32 showdown on Thursday.
“I love competing at this level. It’s a proper game of football with two teams full of talented players really going for each other.
“It was an emotional game but that’s how I like it. They are the games you want to be involved in.
“The players loved it as well. I could tell they were buzzing with the outcome after the game.
“We realise the Europa League level is going to be different from domestic.
“But the games are coming thick and fast. It’s what we are used to in the schedule so we will get on with it and get them ready for the next challenge.”
Gerrard may have cast dreamy eyes at his team in the minutes after their Bosuilstadion victory but there was no escaping the manager’s quizzical glare the morning after the night before.
The Ibrox side’ defence made it far too easy for the Belgians to twice go in front and Gerrard will not accept a repeat.
“It would be easy for me to say ‘it was just one of those nights’,” he said. “But we didn’t defend well enough in situations.
“We know and the players know what we could have done better. We could have avoided all three goals but it just shows you will concede at this level if you are not right on your details.
“We need to improve on that in a week’s time for sure.”
For now, it is back to Premiership action as Rangers chase down their first love.
Micky Mellon’s United were hammered 4-0 on their last visit to Glasgow but they are not alone in suffering on the Light Blues’ home patch, with Gerrard’s unbeaten outfit boasting a 100 per cent league record in Govan.
“There is a rivalry there so we know United will come to Ibrox ready to fight for everything,” Gerrard added.
“They did that in the first game at Ibrox but unfortunately on the day they met us, we were really on top form.
“Micky is a manager I really respect and I know he’s going to fire his troops up.
“But the focus will be on us. Our home form has been outstanding this season, 14 from 14 in the league. We want to improve on that.”