As Rangers faced off against Hearts, it will have come as no surprise to many that John Souttar wasn’t involved in the proceedings.
The Scotland international, 25, has been a key player for the Jambos all season but has signed on a pre-contract deal to come to Ibrox when his contract expires at Tynecastle this summer.
The January transfer window also saw Rangers make three bids for the player with the final one said to be rising to £400k despite the fact they’ll get the defender for nothing in little over three months.
And whilst John Souttar not playing for Hearts at Ibrox might have many supposing the Jambos have removed him from the firing line, it’s the defender’s second straight absence.
A troublesome ankle knock appears to be hindering the ex-Dundee United stopper at present and it remains unclear if Souttar will return to the Hearts squad against Dundee this week.
“Hopefully, aye. He did a wee bit of training the other day, he’s still a wee bit sore so we will wait and see.”
Were Rangers right to knockback John Souttar Hearts ransom?
Whilst John Souttar may have had a role to play in Rangers’ title defence – amid woeful defensive displays we’ve said as much ourselves – his recent absences highlight why the Gers were right not to splurge.
The Ibrox club’s issues at centre-back have been well documented this season but as Leon Balogun returns and with Filip Helander not far away from joining him the complexion is beginning to change.
It might have changed completely by the time John Souttar will be back playing for Hearts and by proxy when he would’ve been available for Rangers.
The ankle injury is also evidence that John Souttar wouldn’t have played let alone prevented the 3-0 humbling at Celtic Park.
So for Rangers to go out and spend the reported £600k asking price on the defender, potentially inserting a sell-on clause for good measure, just does not make good business sense for a player who as things stand, isn’t even fit enough to play.
Perhaps that fact will have Hearts cursing come the end of the season, wishing they took the £400k and ran with Rangers standing to sign John Souttar for nothing and the Jambos currently without a key player.
Talking of summer transfers, one Premier League London club are reportedly mulling over a £10m bid for a leading Gers star.