Rangers-bound John Souttar set to return for Hearts against Celtic

Souttar has agreed to join Rangers in the summer, with the Scottish champions attempting to sign the defender earlier.

By Press Association Published: 24 January 2022 - 12.57pm

John Souttar is set to return to the Hearts team to face Celtic on Wednesday after the club knocked back a bid from Rangers to take the defender immediately.

Souttar missed Saturday’s 5-0 Scottish Cup win against Auchinleck Talbot after news emerged of a failed offer from Ibrox, but he has shaken off an ankle knock ahead of Celtic’s visit.

Manager Robbie Neilson said: “John trained (on Monday) so he will get a bit of treatment on his ankle and I expect him to be available for Wednesday.”

Souttar has signed a pre-contract agreement to join Rangers and it remains to be seen whether the cinch Premiership leaders will return with another offer in January.

“We shall wait and see,” Neilson said. “There was an offer, it got knocked back, and that’s it done.

“We are just focused on the game, all eyes are on Celtic now. It doesn’t really bother us at all.”

Hearts are looking to repeat their opening-day win over Celtic and Neilson has urged his players to set their sights on catching Ange Postecoglou’s side.

“Celtic are very, very good team but we have a home game against them now, and if we can pick up three points we will go within six of them and it keeps us closer,” he said.

“We speak to the players all the time about looking up the way and not looking behind us. If we can aim for the two teams at the top of the league, we don’t need to worry about what’s coming behind.

“We got a great result at the start of the season and we hope to do it again.

“We will have 19,000 Jambos there and it will be a brilliant atmosphere. We believe we can go and win and if we get a result it sets us up for the next few games, which will be tough.

“We have to play to the best of our ability, we understand that, but we have managed to do that a few times this season.”

Meanwhile, Neilson and the club are continuing to chase transfer targets with a forward a priority.

“We are still working away, trying to get a couple in, but it’s a difficult market at the moment,” Neilson said. “It’s expensive, so we need to make sure we get the right one.

“We have one or two targets that we will try and do, if we can do them then great.”

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