A goal from Ronald de Boer in either half had warmed up the crowd on a chilly autumn evening to take the tie into extra-time and when substitute Neil McCann volleyed home a third goal it looked as if Rangers had done what many beforehand had deemed an impossible task.
However, when Marcel Licka levelled the tie once more around the 100 minute mark, a chaotic final period ensued that saw a penalty awarded to the home side then retracted, some staggering last-gasp defending and even the incredulous sight of goalkeeper Stefan Klos powering a header goalwards as Rangers pushed for another goal.
Sadly it was not to come as the Czechs held on to stake their place in the second round to deny Alex McLeish's men.
The Rangers boss had appealed for the crowd to provide the team with plenty of vocal support but despite their hearty backing, there was no sign of the excitement to come in a nervy, error-ridden first-half.
Bert Konterman, making his first start of the season, looked short of match practice playing in front of the defence with the aim of allowing Fernando Ricksen and Arthur Numan to make tracks down the flanks.
The Dutchman made several unforced errors that thankfully went unpunished by the Zizkov strikeforce, although he was booked for a crude trip on Ludek Straceny on the half-hour mark before being replaced by Kevin Muscat on 67 minutes.
Play lurched hapazardly from end to end like a drunk man making his way home from the pub although neither side was giving either goalkeeper much to do in terms of direct shots on goal.
By the 12th minute mark Rangers had already forced four corners but were unable to capitalise on the opportunities created from the set-pieces.
De Boer should have broken the deadlock, however, after 22 minutes when he somehow scooped a Shota Arvledaze cross over the crossbar from all of six yards with the goal gaping.
Zizkov coach, Viteslav Lavicka, had spoken pre-match of the importance of an away goal for his side and, true to his word, his side edged forward, with Ales Pikl hooking a snapshot at goal that Stefan Klos gratefully clutched to his chest.
If it was at all possible, the tempo increased steadily as the half went on, with Lorenzo Amoruso needing treatment for a nosebleed before returning to sweep a 35-yard free-kick narrowly over.
Klos then tipped Michal Smada's free-kick to safety before he was felled by a late challenge from Jiri Sabou at the resulting corner.
The incident only served to raise the volume coming from the home support and, just when it seemed the half would end scoreless, Rangers grabbed a precious opening goal.
De Boer had had a largely ineffective match until that stage but he was in the right place at the right time to slam home the loose ball from Arveladze's deflected shot, with 42 minutes showing on the stadium clock.
Buoyed by the strike, the home side began the second half on the attack and when Lovenkrands was felled in the box seven minutes after the break, a penalty kick looked inevitable.
Greek referee Athanassios Briakos shook his head vehemently, however, and when the Dane went down again shortly after he was harshly booked for diving.
The boos soon turned to cheers, however, when Rangers netted again to level the tie just short of the hour mark.
Dutch dangerman de Boer it was who grabbed the vital goal again, magically appearing at the back post when it looked as if Arveladze's weak shot would roll past the post to safety.
Ibrox erupted, with the crowd sensing that a historic victory was within their grasp as Rangers pushed forward seeking a third goal that would clinch a berth in next week's second round draw.
Zizkov were hanging on for grim life and one desperate clearance spiralled high into the Main Stand where it was gleefully caught by Gers legendary goalkeeper, Andy Goram, who was commentating on the match for the Rangers website.
With the tension rising by the minute, only the width of the crossbar denied de Boer a hat-trick as extra time loomed.
There was a heart-stopping moment in the last seconds of normal time when substitute Peter Kruty was left unmarked to crack in a left foot drive that went narrowly wide.
Within 30 seconds of extra-time, Barry Ferguson drove a right-foot past the post before McCann made his long-awaited return from injury, replacing Lovenkrands.
The appearance of the former Hearts' winger was to prove to be a tactical masterstroke as within six minutes of his appearance he had shot Rangers into the lead for the first time in the tie.
De Boer was instrumental in the goal again, crossing for McCann to volley home from close range, before being replaced by Claudio Caniggia.
Within two minutes, however, Zizkov struck gold from a rare attack, with substitute Marcel Licka capitalising on some slack defending to ram the ball past Klos to silence the crowd with an away goal.
McCann had another excellent chance to put Rangers ahead once more at the start of the second period when he latched onto to Arveladze's through ball but his shot was diverted for a corner that yielded nothing.
With Rangers now desperate for another goal, only some incredible last-ditch defending denied first Arveladze and then Caniggia, before Kucera pulled off a jaw-dropping one-handed block to stop Amoruso's blistering volley from 12 yards from firing Rangers in front.
Confusion reigned in the last few minutes and Rangers fans thought they had a penalty when Craig Moore was fouled off the ball.
Buryan was sent off for the offence before the referee astonishingly changed his mind and gave a corner instead.
With time running out, goalkeeper Klos appeared in the opposing box for another corner to fire a header goalward that was clawed off the line as Zizkov held on to progress to the second round courtesy of that vital away goal.
RANGERS: Klos; Ricksen, Moore, Amoruso, Numan; Konterman (Muscat 67), Ferguson, Arteta; Arveladze, de Boer (Caniggia 99), Lovenkrands (McCann 91)
Subs not used: McGregor, Dodds, Latapy, Ross
Booked: Konterman (30), Lovenkrands (66), Ferguson (113)
VIKTORIA ZIZKOV: Kucera; Buryan, Mlejnsky, Klimpl, Janousek (Kruty 67); Pikl, Smarda, Sabou, Scasny; Chihuri (Licka 98), Straceny
Subs not used: Vacek, Novotny, Mikulik, Dirmbach, Chvatal
Booked: Buryan (33), Sabou (113)
Sent off: Buryan (118)
Referee: Athanassios Briakos (Greece)
Man of the Match: Fernando Ricksen