By Daniel Feliciano

22nd Apr, 2022 | 9:30am

John Souttar will be fit for Hearts ahead of Rangers cup final before summer move

John Souttar is expected to be fit to play for Hearts in the Scottish Cup final next month, with Robbie Neilson admitting he has no problem playing him against Rangers.

Souttar has already agreed a pre-contract deal to move to Ibrox in the summer, but the two sides will meet at Hampden in the cup final in May.

After suffering an injury last week, boss Neilson has revealed that he expects Souttar to be fit enough to return and get some games under his belt before then and says ‘the best team will play’ in the final.

“John will start running early next week, so he will be available for the Final, which is good news,” he said.

“The plan was always to try to get him back for the final couple of games of the season.”

Asked if he would think twice about using Souttar against his future employers he replied, “No, to be honest, we will pick the best team.

“We are hoping to have him back for, potentially, the Celtic game, definitely Motherwell, which will give him a run into the Rangers [league] game and the Final.

“And the best players and the best team will play.”

Conflict

Souttar didn’t feature in the Scottish Premiership game that took place just after his transfer was announced, with Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men romping to a 5-0 win.

That night his absence was blamed on an injury, but there were doubts about whether or not that was true.

Now with a league game between the two clubs before the cup final, it will be interesting to see if Neilson sticks to his word and plays his best team for the game.

It’s an interesting situation to be in, playing in a cup final for his current employers against his future employers, so it’s possible that Souttar may ask to sit out the game.

But ultimately he’s a professional who wants to win trophies, hence his move in the first place, so he should get his head down and try to beat us in reality. Hopefully he does that and loses, so the lads have something to banter him with when he arrives in July.

In other Rangers news, Barry Ferguson tips ‘colossus’ Rangers ace for U-turn after major developments in last week