Sheyi Ojo said Rangers set out to beat Feyenoord for Fernando Ricksen and dedicated his winning goal to the club's former captain.
Liverpool loanee Ojo scored with a scorching effort after 23 minutes of Rangers' Europa League Group G opener at Ibrox to calm his side's nerves after James Tavernier missed a penalty.
Rangers withstood a spell of late Feyenoord pressure to emerge with a 1-0 victory that Ojo said was fuelled by self-belief and a determination to honour the memory of Ricksen, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2013 and died on Wednesday.
"It was a nice goal but the most important thing was to get the win today and we've done that," Ojo told BT Sport.
"We believe in ourselves and know what we're capable of. It's about putting on a good performance for our home fans.
"All the players were saying before the game we have to do it for him [Ricksen]. Not only him but what he represents – the fighting spirit he showed in his last few years.
"My goal celebration was dedicated to him."
Rangers boss Steven Gerrard reflected on three points he felt his players deserved despite Allan McGregor having to make two saves late in the game to preserve their lead.
The home side had 20 shots on goal compared to Feyenoord's 16, and Gerrard said his side's creativity - along with the atmosphere inside Ibrox - proved key on an emotional night for the club.
"Over 90 minutes, if you look at the chances, we deserved to win," said Gerrard. "Sometimes you have to perform out of possession and defensively we were very well organised.
"The atmosphere was fantastic, very fitting, and we're just pleased we put in a performance his [Ricksen's] young family can be very proud of.
"I'm sure Fernando was looking down. The players gave a lot of commitment and effort – exactly how he used to play. Everyone connected to the club has been down and we wanted to lift that."
Looking ahead to his side's next Europa League fixture, away at Young Boys on October 3, Gerrard added: "It's an important win but there's a long way to go. We expect a tougher challenge.
"The group is going to be a long, hard challenge."