'Bring the noise' says Rangers defender Filip Helander ahead of Livingston clash at busy Ibrox

Filip Helander is relishing playing in front of packed stands at Ibrox again – even if it interferes with his team-mates’ communication during games.

Filip Helander of Rangers. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Empty grounds last season echoed with the shouts, calls and instructions between team-mates and from the dug-out but now, with more and more fans filing back to stadia across Scotland the player’s discussions are much less audible.

That’s the case for the players on the field as well as those making the noise off it – but Swedish defender Helander is looking forward to a noisier atmosphere than last term with 23,000 being inside Ibrox for the defence of their cinch Premiership title beginning against Livingston.

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Upwards of 12,000 were permitted for Sunday’s warm-up win over Real Madrid, which the defender started, and he admitted: “It is going to be fantastic to see the fans, we have all been looking forward to it for so long. Even in the friendlies, it felt strange we couldn't talk to each other out on the pitch.”

The game was the first the Swede had started since re-joining his team-mates after Euro 2020, but he is ready to knuckle down despite a shorter close-season rest than many of his team-mates and a return back to his homeland next week to face Malmo in the Champions league qualifiers.

He added: "You don't get too long a break after the Euros but you don't have to run quite as much as the boys who have been here since the start!

"We take a lot of pride in clean sheets, it is all about the way we play as a team - all working together with a great structure starting from the strikers. We can't relax and we have to do it again and even improve further.

“I try not to set too many personal goals, I just focus on trying to win the league again and hopefully get some more successful nights in Europe.

"The new players are here to help improve the team, I'm sure they will. We are all happy to have them here.”

Steven Gerrard has a fully fit squad to choose from – aside from the quarantining Alfredo Morelos and Ryan Jack who is awaiting approval to re-commence full training.

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