Rangers held Molde to a goalless draw in Norway but the performance from Paul Le Guen's side was far from impressive.
Ferguson returned but Rangers rather struggled
Captain Barry Ferguson made his first start for Rangers in five months but his team struggled against the hosts.
The Rangers keeper Allan McGregor was required to make several vital saves with Molde chasing a first leg victory.
The Norwegians might have had a penalty when Julien Rodriguez collided with Madiou Konate but nothing was given and Rangers took a result back to Glasgow.
Lee Martin began wide left, with Thomas Buffel behind target man Kris Boyd, while Jeremy Clement, Chris Burke and Dado Prso all had to settle for the bench.
Molde could have taken an early lead when Daniel Berg Hestad's long-range shot was blocked by Allan McGregor and Stian Ohr failed with the rebound.
Then Ohr crossed for Magne Hoseth whose header flew over the Rangers crossbar. While Rangers were below-par they had first-half chances. Boyd nodded wide from Steven Smith's centre and a Libor Sionko shot was cleared off the Molde line.
After the break Rangers looked more lively but McGregor still had to make a vital save from the influential Hoseth after a mistake by Julien Rodriguez.
At the Molde end, a good strike from Sionko tested the home keeper, before Sionko and Buffel were removed by Paul Le Guen and replaced with Prso and Burke.
Molde felt they had a penalty when Rodriguez barged Konate to the turf but the referee thought otherwise, much to Rangers' relief.
With quarter of an hour left, Ferguson was withdrawn for Clement to enter the fray.
McGregor then helped Rangers again with a superb save from Ohr's long-range strike as the visitors held on despite increased Molde pressure.
Molde: Larsen, Andreasson, Kallio, Berg Hestad, Hoseth, Ohr, Rudi, Rindaroy (Strande 71), Grande, Mavric, Konate (Diouf 82).
Subs Not Used: Lillebakk, Gjerde, Moster, Mohamed.
Booked: Ohr, Hoseth, Rudi.
Rangers: McGregor, Smith, Svensson, Rodriguez, Bardsley, Martin, Ferguson (Clement 76), Hemdani, Sionko (Prso 65), Buffel (Burke 67), Kris Boyd.
Subs Not Used: Robinson, Hutton, Sebo, Adam.
Ref: Jacek Granat (Poland).