John Souttar Rangers critics slammed as team-mates rally round former Hearts defender - 'we've all been there'

Rangers defender Connor Goldson has backed John Souttar to prove an “unbelievable signing” for the Ibrox club and hit back at the criticism meted out to his central defensive partner following his debut toils in the side’s 2-1 win at Livingston.

Rangers defender John Souttar found life tough against Livingston forward Joel Nouble.
Rangers defender John Souttar found life tough against Livingston forward Joel Nouble.

Souttar endured a wretched afternoon in proving culpable at the home side’s early opener as he struggled to handle Joel Nouble before being withdrawn for James Sands in the 67th minute. He suffered an online pile-on as a result as doubts have been cast of the player retaining his place for the club’s Champions League third-round qualifier first leg away to Belgian club Union Saint-Gilloise.

But Goldson, pointing to the naysayers among the club’s support he fell foul of across the early seasons of his four years in Scotland, insists Souttar’s capabilities should not be questioned on such scant evidence. Indeed, the Englishman asserts that the summer arrival has surprised him only in the best possible fashion.

“He’s settling in really well and I’ve been really, really, really impressed by him,” he said. “From the first week that he trained after we came back from Portugal, you can see his qualities. I was disappointed on Saturday, I saw a few things on the internet and things like that, people talking bad just because he has had one game where he probably made a few mistakes.

Connor Goldson has defended Souttar - 'we know what we have signed'.

“We’ve all been there; I’ve been there myself. I’ve been written off plenty of times by Rangers fans. I see him every single day and I see the qualities that he has so I have no doubts at all he is going to be an unbelievable signing for this club.

“One hundred per cent [you have to have a bit of patience and trust in yourself]. He is an international player, he’s 25, and has played however many games in Scottish football already [with more than 200 senior appearances over nearly a decade]. We know – we know – what we have signed. Listen, he has joined Rangers and that comes with the pressure it comes with.

“But people can’t judge people off one game. Livingston away is not the easiest place with the pitch and the way they play. But we have all seen his quality and I have been more impressed seeing him in training than what I thought from seeing him playing for Hearts. I knew he was a good player but everything he does is so crisp with the ball. And he throws himself in front of things and is a great defender. I’m really happy we signed him and I look forward to playing with him.”