Dave McPherson provides insight into weight of expectation facing new Rangers defender John Souttar
The Scotland internationalist completed his move to Ibrox from Hearts on a four-year-deal earlier today - a path previously tread by McPherson
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Former Rangers defender Dave McPherson reckons John Souttar will cope with the weight of expectation that will land on his shoulders.
The ex-Hearts centre-back has completed his move to Ibrox on a four-year-deal after initially signing a pre-contract agreement back in January.
The 25-year-old, who has battled back from THREE Achilles injuries so far, played his last game for the Jambos during their 2-0 Scottish Cup final defeat to Rangers after extra-time last month.
After spending six years at Tynecastle Souttar, who has never won a major trophy, is about to be thrown into an environment where even one piece of silverware a season isn’t enough to satisfy fans expectations.
McPherson knows better than most the path Souttar has trodden from Gorgie to Govan having spent two spells at both clubs during his playing career.
It is a move which has crushed the careers of some players in the past, but not McPherson who coped with the extra burden that comes with having to deliver trophies year on year.
The former centre-half joined Rangers at the age of 14 then moved to Hearts and back again before heading back along the M8 to re-join the Edinburgh club between 1982 and 1999, reckons Souttar will be a success in Glasgow.
Speaking to GlasgowWorld, he said: “John has done very well. He’s been injured quite a bit, so he’s got a lot to prove, but I’m sure he’ll get regular game time at Rangers and hopefully it will push him on.
“It’s difficult going to Rangers from Hearts – I’ve done it many times, I like that M8!
“It’s very difficult, different standards. You’re going to a club with a bigger support and more expectation on you to win things, not just to win one trophy, but two or three.”
“But I’m sure he’ll do well. He’s got a nice temperament about him. John is very calm on the ball, a good passer, he builds from the back.
“Did I feel pressure going back? Probably, because Rangers were going for everything. It was pre-Bosman as well so I didn’t have an option to go somewhere else. If Rangers paid Hearts £1.4million I was going to Rangers and that was it.
“There was a bit of pressure going back there. People say you should never go back to your former club, but I proved to be successful on both occasions.
“When I went back to Rangers we won the Treble and at Hearts, we won the Scottish Cup.”
Souttar, who is expected to line-up for Scotland in their World Cup play-off semi-final against Ukraine at Hampden Park tonight, will look to form a strong central defensive partnership with Connor Goldson after the Englishman shocked supporters earlier today by penning a new long-term deal.
McPherson has been impressed by the achievements of his former clubs last season as Rangers clinched Scottish Cup glory and reached the Europa League Final in Seville.
Hearts ended the campaign in third place in the Scottish Premiership to ensure European football next term.
Asked which of his old club’s had enjoyed a better season, McPherson replied: “I think it comes down to winning things. Rangers obviously had a better season than Hearts.
“Hearts have done well because they’ve recruited well, they’ve got good squad depth and if they recruit well again this summer, I’d expect them to challenge next season.
“They must fill the void left by John (Souttar) but that’s what modern-day management is all about. When you lose key players it’s important you try to replace them as soon as possible.”
Despite Rangers’ loss to Eintracht Frankfurt on penalties in the Europa League final, McPherson reckons it was a tremendous achievement that Scottish clubs must aim to try and replicate.
He admitted: “It was fantastic for Scottish football that a Scottish team could do so well in Europe and beat some top teams along the way.
“I thought they were a little bit unlucky in the final. Ryan Kent had a great chance at the end and those are the defining moments of any cup tie.
“It’s something that we should look to build on, not just Rangers, but Scottish football in general.”