Indeed, Gerrard will be desperate to avoid a repeat of last season's Europa League disaster, which saw the Scottish outfit fall at the first hurdle against Luxembourg side Progres Niederkorn.
A trip to either Moldova or Croatia is the prize on offer for the winners of the tie, with one of Petrocub Hincesti or Osijek waiting in the second qualifying round.
|Game||Rangers vs Shkupi|
|Date||Wednesday, July 12|
|Time||7:45pm BST / 2:45pm ET|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US) the game will be not be shown live on television, but it will be available to stream live online via Rangers' in-house TV channel, Rangers TV.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be watched live on TV on BT Sport 1 or streamed live online using the BT Sport app.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|BT Sport 1||BT Sport app|
Squads & Team News
|Goalkeepers||Foderingham, McGregor, Alnwick|
|Defenders||Tavernier, John, Wallace, Goldson, Hodson, Flanagan, Katic, Wilson, Beerman, Cardoso|
|Midfielders||Dorrans, Jack, Ejaria, Halliday, Ross McCrorie, Rossiter, Candeias, Docherty, Forrester, Barjonas, Arfield, Burt, Middleton, Coulibaly,|
|Forwards||Murphy, Windass, Morelos, Rudden, Atakayi, Herrera, Sadiq|
Gerrard has added a number of new faces to the Rangers squad since taking the reins, with the likes of Connor Goldson joining from Brighton, Scott Arfield signing from Burnley and Jon Flanagan arriving from Liverpool.
However, Portugal defender Bruno Alves has departed the club, while Lee Wallace and Jordan Rossiter will miss the game through injury. New signings Lassana Coulibaly and Umar Sadiq are not expected to play a part in the first leg.
Potential Rangers XI: McGregor; Tavernier, Goldson, Katic, Flanagan; Jack, Windass, Candeias, Arfield, Murphy, Morelos.
|Goalkeepers||Zendeli, Aleksovski, Jonuz|
|Defenders||Tipuric, Bilali, Bajrami, Owono Nchama, Krivanjeva, Monsuy Angong, Ramadani|
|Midfielders||Ljamcevski, Muarem, Broja, Vujcic, Sefo, Veliu, Ismaili, Adem, Sergio Junior|
|Forwards||Shabani, Muharem, Ilijoski, Stojkovski|
Shkupi have boosted their squad with the signings of Brazilian winger Sergio Junior and Macedonia international Muarem Muarem, as well as Amir Bilal and Artan Veliu.
Potential Shkupi XI: Zendeli, Bajrami, Krivanjeva, Tipuric, Broja, Ljamcevski, Adem, Shabani, Sergio Junior, Ilijoski, Stojkovski.
Betting & Match Odds
Rangers are heavy favourites to win the game at Ibrox, with dabblebet offering odds of 1/50 on the Scottish side to come out on top. Shkupi's chances of winning are rated at 28/1 and a draw is available at 12/1.
An air of intrigue will envelop Ibrox Stadium on Thursday as Rangers embark on a new journey with one of the most respected footballers to play the game in the modern era at the helm.
However, that sense of hope will also be tinged with caution considering what happened to the Glasgow side in their previous Europa League campaign.
"This'll be one of the easiest team talks I'll ever have to do," Gerrard told reporters ahead of the match.
"All I have to do is show them the faces from 12 months ago in the away leg and that's the team talk right there. If you're not ready to go and put that right, we have a serious problem here."
The former Liverpool captain has been busy making his mark at Ibrox by bringing in a host of new additions, a number of whom have been recruited directly from Premier League clubs.
A 6-0 friendly win over Bury in pre-season set the tone nicely for the new era and Gerrard will be keen for his charges to replicate that level of performance, particularly at home, as they look to set off on the right foot.