Steven Gerrard revealed he had to urge his players to believe they belonged on the same stage as Villarreal as they hit back to claim an impressive 2-2 draw in Spain.
The Ibrox side suffered a nightmare start to their Europa League campaign as Carlos Bacca put the hosts ahead inside 44 seconds at El Madrigal.
And Gerrard felt his men lacked the confidence to really mix it with the LaLiga big guns during a tepid first half.
But after an interval pep talk, Gers showed they were more than a match for the Yellow Submarine as they refused to be sunk.
Scott Arfield and Kyle Lafferty struck either side of Gerard Moreno’s goal to hand the Light Blues a deserved draw in their Group G opener.
Gerrard said: “I’m very proud of my team, especially in the second half, which I felt was a very strong performance.
“We obviously got off to the worst possible start, going a goal down inside the first minute. Sometimes in football you’ve got to hold your hand up and it was a wonderful strike from Carlos Bacca.
Fernandez, Miguelon, Bonera,Victor Ruiz, Pedraza, Sansone (Chukwueze 79), Fornals, Funes Mori (Gerard 66), Cazorla, Toko Ekambi (Trigueros 60), Bacca.
McGregor, Tavernier, Worrall,Goldson, Barisic (Dorrans 85),Coulibaly (Middleton 70), Halliday, Arfield, Candeias (McCrorie 77), Kent, Lafferty.
Istvan Kovacs (Romania).