By Stewart Fisher

GROWING up in Sweden, Filip Helander's main interest in Scottish football was attempting to keep up with the goalscoring exploits of Henrik Larsson. Little did he suspect back then that he would find himself playing alongside a man who is starting to re-write his countryman’s record books. Not only that, but it is his misfortune to have to try to stop him in training.

Just to ask the question is enough to spark ridicule on one half of the city but when Alfredo Morelos is blowing Larsson’s Seville-era all-time Scottish record for goals in a European season out the water by the start of December, it doesn’t seem quite so outlandish to compare the goalscoring exploits of Rangers’ chunky little Colombian with Celtic’s King of Kings.

Okay, so a few caveats must be inserted first. Eight of Morelos’ 13 goals in his 13 games this season to date came in the qualifying rounds, while Larsson’s Celtic went straight into the Uefa league proper in that 2002-03 season after being dumped out of the Champions League preliminaries by Basel.

Larsson has longevity on his side too, his 242 total goals in 315 starts coming in at 0.77 a game to Morelos’ 0.72 ratio for his 73 goals in 10 starts, but for Helander it is a feather in Morelos’ cap just to be in the conversation.

But with 25 goals already domestically, plus one for Colombia, Morelos is pretty much halfway there already to Larsson’s best ever season of 53 goals from 50 games in 2000-01. And watching him come up with two headers to drag his team back into a match where they were largely second best was reminiscent of the peerless display Larsson put in against Porto in that Uefa Cup final itself.

“He must be doing something right if he is breaking records set by Henrik Larsson,” said Helander at the start of another huge week for the Ibrox side. "As a Swede growing up in the 90s and noughties, I obviously saw Henrik Larsson quite a bit.

“But Alfredo is just fantastic. Sometimes you don't see a whole lot of him in the game but he is always there you know, every week scoring important goals, he is an outstanding player for us. I hope we can keep him for a very long time.”

The football world is littered with all different kinds of strikers, playing in all different kind of tactical systems.

Where Larsson was a more versatile player than Morelos – his creativity illustrated perfectly with the late cameo which won a Champions League crown for Barcelona – and was usually paired with a larger striker, there is a muscularity about Morelos’ game which seems perfect for the rough and tumble of Scottish football.

He has yet to score against Celtic but- considering he missed an open goal from a yard in the 3-2 home defeat in the Murty era – that seems like a n anomaly rather than anything else. First comes an awkward visit to take on Aberdeen, but he will get a chance to rectify that particular black mark at Hampden on Sunday.

Helander has seen most of these different styles in a career which has seen him spend years in Serie A tackling the likes of Juventus’ Paulo Dybala but he feels Morelos compares to any of them.

“He is up there with anyone I have ever played against,” said Helander.” And I have played against some great strikers, all different types of players.

“I remember coming up against Dybala who was completely different, always dropping off then taking players on but Alfredo is a powerful guy who knows where the goal is.

It is hard to compare them but I was jut so impressed when I came and saw Alfredo play for the first time.

“He is so powerful and has a real nose for picking up the right chance, so difficult for defenders for me to play against. He is strong, always working hard, so tough to deal with. I just hope he can continue, stay fit and get some more goals this season.”

If Celtic faced an annual struggle to keep their hands on Larsson, in this modern era given the annual losses which Rangers are still racking up, it seems only a matter of time before Morelos is showcasing his talents in a bigger league. Whether the gaudy numbers which are being breezily linked with the player coalesce into a concrete bid this January, so totemic has he become that Rangers will have a mutiny on their hands if they sell him, almost regardless of the price.

“We really hope to keep him, he is so important to everything we are trying to achieve this season,” said Helander. “It is also about trying not to put too much pressure on him, although he does very well at handling that.

“I am sure that when we sell him we will get really, really big money for him but hopefully it won't be this season.”

Having been kept on the fringes by the form of Nikola Katic early in the season, Helander has started the last nine matches as part of a settled partnership with Connor Goldson. While Gerrard may freshen things up for Pittodrie, the duo has helped create five clean sheets in their last seven and seem likely to get the nod for Hampden on Sunday.

“There are always big games at a club like this, there are just a lot of games,” said Helander. “You always have to put your full concentration on the next one.”

It would have been nice to have qualification for the last 32 of the Europa League in the bag before the final matchday but whatever toll the events of the week have on the group, Helander is confident they can take care of business at home to Young Boys, when a draw would be enough.

Of course we wanted to get it done against Feyenoord on the night but the truth is we didn't start the match well - they were a lot better than us at that point - so over 90 minutes I think we got a good result and even if we had won we wouldn't have been safe anyway.

“We always have a good chance when we play at Ibrox, so we just have to focus on the games in the league and the BetFred cup and then look forward to Young Boys.”