Maybe Leigh Griffiths’ strikes against England can rival the celebrations sparked after the Hearts defender, brought up near Brechin, sent a header past Kasper Schmeichel ten minutes before half-time. Souttar himself referenced Gary Caldwell’s winner against France in 2006 as inspiring a similar explosion of joy. Even without any prior knowledge of Souttar's backstory, it proved an emotional night as Scotland secured a famous victory. But the identity of the scorer of the first goal, and man of the match, made it an extra special night.
“It’s the pinnacle for me, I come from the North-East where most of the Tartan Army are from,” said Souttar. “To score for Scotland is what dreams are made of for me. I’ve never seen Hampden like it. I can’t remember anything quite like it.
“Maybe the France game when Gary Caldwell scored. But even then I don’t think the nation was quite behind us like they are now. It was just amazing out there.”
Souttar admitted he could not have dreamt about playing again for Scotland, let alone scoring, after rupturing his Achilles tendon twice in the space of two years.
The 25-year-old has also fought back from a serious knee injury. He only made his latest comeback as recently as April this year, taking little time to hit top form for Hearts. He has already scored three times for his club this season. He compared himself to Hearts striker Liam Boyce.
“It was a Boyce type finish,” he said. “I’m catching up on goals with him as well now.”
Souttar pounced to put Scotland on the way to a famous victory over Denmark to seal a place as one of the seeds in the World Cup play-off draw later this month. They have now been guaranteed a home draw.
“I mean, it’s something you can only dream of when you’re younger, scoring for your country,” he said. “It was an unbelievable moment for me. Something that probably won’t sink in for a few days.
“It was incredible and it’s hard to put into words how I felt. Amazing. I remember a wee bit – I remember heading the ball – but what happened next is just a blur. I remember the noise and the amazing feeling. That’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
“Everyone says it’s worth it now, everything I went through,” he added. “When I got injured last time, to think I’d be back here in a year’s time, scoring at Hampden, it wasn’t even a dream. I couldn’t have imagined it.”
The Souttar family have endured a decidedly mixed week. Younger brother Harry ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament while on international duty for Australia against Saudi Arabia. John dedicated the goal to his older brother, Aaron, who he called from the Hampden pitch amid the delirium after the final whistle.
“My first thoughts were for my older brother at home, Aaron, who has been a big help to me,” he said.
“He has the first person I thought of when I scored, I knew he was watching at home. So that was for him – and I FaceTimed him after it. It was a special moment and I wanted to share it with him, because he’s a top older brother. It was emotional, seeing him so proud of me.”
Souttar was still deliberating who should be given the gift of his shirt. “There’s a surgeon probably deserves my shirt, although I’m not sure he’d want it. But my mum should really have first dibs on it!”