Ex-Rangers boss Alex McLeish believes John Souttar has proven mental toughness required to succeed at Ibrox

The 25-year-old defender could seal a switch to Ibrox this month

Former Rangers manager Alex McLeish reckons defender John Souttar has already proven he has the mental strength required to succeed at Rangers.

The Ibrox club are set to offer the Hearts centre-back a pre-contract this month as he enters the final six months of his current deal at Tynecastle.

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The 25-year-old has previously been plagued by setbacks with three separate Achilles injuries restricting his game-time in recent years.

Hearts' John Souttar is in the final six-months of his contract at Tynecastle. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

However, Souttar has since resurrected his playing career and capped his return to the Scotland national team with a crucial goal in November’s 2-0 World Cup qualifying win over Denmark at Hampden Park.

He has been a standout performer in Robbie Neilson’s Jambos side so far this season and McLeish believes his mentality to recover from career-threatening injuries is testament to Souttar’s character.

Speaking to The Herald, he said: “To get back to the level he has after the injuries he has had says a lot about John.

“If you go back a few years to my era, you probably wouldn’t have recovered from them. You wouldn’t have got your full mobility back when I played.

“That has a lot to do with the improvements that have been made in sports science and medical treatment over the years.

John Souttar gave Scotland the lead against Denmark at Hampden in November. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

“He has obviously had good people around but, but that has got to be a testament to his strength or character as well.

“John has certainly turned it all around when his career looked to be in jeopardy. He was out for a helluva long time.

“If he didn’t have the necessary mental toughness then he wouldn’t have come through what he has been through.”

Rangers face stiff competition for Souttar’s signature with FIVE English Championship clubs - Blackburn Rovers, Stoke City, Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United - all monitoring his situation.