John Souttar is a risk not worth taking for Rangers v Hearts after team news
Michael Beale has a few calls to make, once again, when he names his Rangers team to face Hearts at Ibrox on Wednesday evening but John Souttar is not a risk worth taking.
The central defender put in an exemplary performance in the capital against Hibs on Sunday, but it’s nothing to do with his ability.
His injury record means he should not be playing three times in a week, looking ahead to the conclusion of the campaign at St Mirren on Saturday, so it makes sense for Souttar to sit out against his former club, tonight.
Beale is on top of the situation with his man and following his words at yesterday’s press conference, it looks very likely that he will have to settle for a place on the bench for the last home game of the 2022/23 season.
“The three games in a week isn’t ideal for players like Souttar, who hasn’t done that in a long time, and other players coming back from injury. We will rotate over the next two games.”
The boss named six players who have returned to training – Borna Barisic, Alfredo Morelos, Glen Kamara, Antonio Colak, Scott Wright, and Rabbi Matondo – but none of those provide options at the back for the Gers, which could see a return to a previous arrangement.
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John Lundstram occupied a place in defence, out of necessity, in the early stages of the season due to injuries and he looks set to repeat that role against the Jambos.
Ianis Hagi will also be in a similar situation to Scotland international Souttar, with the coaching staff continuing to balance the demands on their bodies at this late stage of the season with nothing to play for in a competitive sense.
In addition to Nico Raskin picking up a knock in Leith on Sunday, it could mean three or four changes for Rangers in what will be the final farewell for some key faces in the squad over the last few years.
Allan McGregor will probably get one last start, as will Scott Arfield with potential starts for Glen Kamara and Alex Lowry.
Hearts are still vying for third place in the Scottish Premiership table so the game should have an upbeat tempo with the Gers also aiming to protect an unbeaten home record.