Hearts boss Robbie Neilson has confirmed Rangers-bound defender John Souttar will make his final appearance at Tynecastle today before he completes his move to Ibrox in the summer – lining up against the Gers in this afternoon’s Scottish Premiership clash.
Souttar has been an unused sub in Hearts last couple of games after recovering from an ankle injury and, with next weekend’s Scottish Cup final against Rangers on the horizon, Neilson wants to get a number of his returning players some minutes today.
“Our focus just now is on this game and once that is done then we will focus on the final,” Neilson said.
“Yes, there is a bit about Souttar coming back, Halkett coming back, about getting Smith gametime. But for us I think it is important with it being the last game at Tynecastle that we try and win it.
“Everyone is available apart from Beni Baningime. Whether they’re ready to start or come on, everybody is ready for some sort of game time. Guys like Souttar, Halkett, Smith and Devlin will all be involved in the game.
“They’re all different. We had a meeting with the medical staff and the players about how they feel and what the medical staff think and we’ll make the decision about whether they can start the game and come off or do they need to wait until later on. We know exactly what we’re wanting to do.”
Souttar getting Hearts minutes under his belt a positive ahead of Rangers move
Souttar’s arrival at Ibrox this summer is one that comes with a certain amount of risk given his injury history and seeing him back playing before heading to Rangers is a positive.
While Rangers fans will be hoping he doesn’t have any role in denying the Light Blues the club’s first Scottish Cup in over a decade, he might have to settle for a place on the bench at Hampden next weekend.
However, today’s dead rubber should be a perfect opportunity for him to get one final run out in maroon before becoming a Rangers player.