GARY MCALLISTER reckons the arrival of Filip Helander has brought out the best in Nikola Katic. And now he has backed the Swedish stopper to show what he is all about at Ibrox.

Helander has only appeared briefly since completing a £3million move to Rangers from Bologna last month.

But could be handed a start in the Betfred Cup clash with East Fife this weekend.

McAllister said: “Filip Helander comes into the reckoning. He’s been playing catch-up fitness-wise but every day on the training field you can see him getting up to speed.

“He’s a natural defender but he brings a left foot to the left side as well. He’s a clever lad and he’s very much aware how well the team is playing

“When the opportunity does come he has to grab it and catch the manager’s eye. His arrival has definitely helped to lift Nikola Katic’s game.

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“Maybe the arrival of Joe Worrall last season had the opposite effect because he came in and took Niko’s position and Niko has learned from that and he’s been very strong in both boxes.

“We come under pressure in some of the European games but the clearances and headers have been vital and it would be hard to split up that Goldson-Katic pairing at the moment.”

Rangers head into the cup clash on the back of another impressive showing in the Europa League after their 3-1 victory over Midtjylland.

It has been an encouraging start to the campaign for the Light Blues and McAllister said: “Confidence grows with momentum. Winning games helps team spirit as opposed to the days when it came from everyone going out for a meal and enjoying themselves.

“It’s a good place, everyone is positive and there’s healthy competition. The fight is on for places and when you’ve got the jersey you’ve got to keep it.

“The beauty is we’re in four competitions and Europe is vital to that so there’s plenty game for players and we need the 24/25 players.”

Alfredo Morelos netted twice against the Danes on Thursday.

And McAllister reckons the competition with Jermain Defoe is inspiring the striker.

He said: “Just training alongside this guy, as much as I’ve known and watched Jermain for years, he’s top-drawer and he still is. Everything he does, his manner, Monday to Friday, standards. Morelos can only get better watching him. But he’s a powerhouse.”