RANGERS centre half Filip Helander is hoping that going head-to-head with Cristiano Ronaldo during the international break will help him deal with the threat posed by legendary Galatasaray striker Radamel Falcao tonight.

The Ibrox defender played for Sweden against Portugal in a Nations League match in Solna last month and found himself up against five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo.

The Juventus forward netted two long-range strikes as the Euro 2016 champions ran out a 2-0 winners in the Friends Arena to take his tally of international goals to 101.

Helander enjoyed the challenge of trying to nullify the threat posed by the Manchester United and Real Madrid great once again despite the final outcome.

He feels the experience will prove beneficial if he is tasked with marking the vastly-experienced Falcao in the Europa League play-off match this evening.

“You always learn things when you play against top players,” he said. “It wasn’t the first time I played against Ronaldo, but when you play against someone like that you always take something out of it and you try to take that with you in every possible game, whether that is against Motherwell or whether it is against Galatasaray.

“It is always nice to play against top players. When you play the European games in general you play against better opponents. So we have to be very careful in our defending.

“Galatasaray have very good experienced players who are very good offensively. So it will be important for us as defenders to not make mistakes and have a good game.

“We try to manage it as we do every game, but when the opponents are better the margins for error are always smaller. Maybe you need to be extra careful. You need to handle the game plan even better. But the preparation and everything is the same whoever you are playing against. It is 90 minutes.

“It is going to be tough against Galatasaray but we are going to do everything to reach the group stages again. I think we have a good chance. I don’t want to look too far ahead. We just have to win this game and see what happens.”

Helander, a £3.5m signing from Italian club Bologna last summer, spent the second half of last season at Rangers on the sidelines after suffering a foot injury on international duty.

However, the 27-year-old, who scored in the 4-0 win over Willem II in the Netherlands last week, has recovered from the problem and established himself as a regular first team starter at Ibrox this term.

“I think it has been going well this season and now I have a few games to get into form,” he said. “It is always difficult when you haven’t played games in a long while and to reach a good level it does take a few games. I think I have done that now. I feel comfortable going forward and I think my performances recently have been good.”

Allan McGregor pulled off some vital saves for Rangers against Willem II last week and Helander has confidence the goalkeeper, so often the hero for the Glasgow club in Europe in the past, can reproduce his performance against Galatasaray if the visitors create scoring chances.

“I hope we don’t need a big performance from Allan, but I am sure he will be ready if that is the case,” he said. “He has been fantastic for us, especially in the European games.

“It is always important that you have players with experience in your team and that is what he has got. It is nice to have a guy behind you who can save you if you miss something or make a mistake. It is great to have a guy with that experience and that ability behind you.

“We are underdogs as Galatasaray have historically done a lot in Europe. They are a great team. But I think we have a good chance. We have been playing in Europe in the last two years and we know what it’s about. So it will definitely be an interesting test.”