John Souttar shows 'bare minimum' to succeed at Rangers as Connor Goldson situation labelled 'interesting'

John Souttar found himself in the unusual position of being under the unforgiving gaze of both sets of supporters at Hampden on Saturday.

John Souttar blocks a shot from Joe Aribo during the Scottish Cup final between Hearts and Rangers at Hampden. (Photo by Sammy Turner / SNS Group)
John Souttar blocks a shot from Joe Aribo during the Scottish Cup final between Hearts and Rangers at Hampden. (Photo by Sammy Turner / SNS Group)

Returning to the Hearts starting line-up for the first time in two months after being sidelined by an ankle injury, Souttar’s inclusion in the Scottish Cup final raised eyebrows among some fans of the Gorgie club who were left unhappy by his decision to agree a pre-contract move to Rangers in January.

As he made his last appearance in a maroon jersey, Souttar’s credentials were also being critically assessed by those in the Rangers end of the stadium ahead of his summer move to the Ibrox club.

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But the Scotland defender rose to the challenge impressively. He was Hearts’ most accomplished performer on the day and the character he displayed has earned warm praise from former Rangers manager Ally McCoist who was on TV punditry duty for Premier Sports at Hampden.

Ally McCoist congratulates the Rangers players as they go up to collect their Scottish Cup winners' medals at Hampden. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

“You’ve got to have that when you move to Rangers or Celtic,” said McCoist. “It’s the bare minimum required at the Old Firm.

“It was a tough gig for him. He was under a lot of scrutiny but I thought he came through it with flying colours.

“I’d like to have seen him play against a centre forward, right enough! But no, seriously, he dealt with it all so well.

“I thought he was immense. I just hope he stays fit, that’s all I can ask for.

“He was terrific at Hampden. There were a couple of forward runs and I thought he defended superbly. The ball was like a magnet to his head for a period.

“I just wish him all the best and I hope the lad stays fit. I think Souttar showed on Saturday he’s more than up for the challenge.”

Souttar’s arrival will be one of many changes to the Rangers first team squad ahead of next season with uncertainty still surrounding the future of out of contract players Allan McGregor, Connor Goldson, Leon Balogun and Steven Davis.

McGregor appeared to make his farewell appearance as a late substitute for Jon McLaughlin as Rangers beat Hearts 2-0 in extra-time, although the 40-year-old goalkeeper remained coy when asked about his situation afterwards.

McCoist is hopeful defender Goldson and veteran midfielder Davis can be persuaded to extend their stays at the club.

“I’ve got to be honest, I don’t know what will happen with Greegs,” said McCoist. “He’ll make his own mind up. You know what Greegsy is like, he might not fancy it, he may have had enough.

“But you’d definitely think they’ll be offering Connor Goldson something and Steven Davis over these last two games looks like he’s got another year in him anyway.

“I think we get a little bit caught up in age sometimes rather than performance. If you take age out the equation, then his performances warrant another year.

“So it will be interesting to see what happens. But Davo certainly looks like he could play on.

“Connor is the one that’s interesting. I know they’ve offered him something and it will be interesting to see what happens.

“But from Rangers’ point of view I think it would be great if he stayed.”

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