Cammy Devlin: Hearts midfielder on his bond with John Souttar; cup final pride; and Australia aspirations

Cammy Devlin has revealed how much he will miss John Souttar after the Scotland defender brought his Hearts career to an end at Hampden.

Sunday, 22nd May 2022, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 23rd May 2022, 10:46 am

The Rangers-bound defender has been a mentor since the Australian midfielder arrived at the Edinburgh club last summer. Devlin says the relationship they formed helped him adapt to Scottish football and make him a better player.

He explained: “From the day I got here, he’s taken me under his wing... even though half the time he is screaming at me because I’m maybe not doing what he wants me to do. I don’t mind that because we chat behind the scenes and he’s only trying to make me a better player and show me his experiences and he’s had a lot of them.

“I couldn’t be more grateful for sharing the pitch with him. He’s an unreal guy and player. He’s got a massive future and I wish him nothing but the best.”

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Devlin’s admiration for Souttar as a player and a teammate stems not just from what he has seen and experienced since arriving in the Capital last summer, but from what he has heard about Souttar’s past.

The operations, years on the sidelines and injury struggles that Souttar has had to endure and overcome during his six and a half years at Tynecastle have made quite an impression on the Australian.

Souttar and Devlin were both among a group of players who had been in a race against time to recover from injury and be ready for Saturday’s defeat to Rangers in the Scottish Cup final. Despite the lack of match practice, they were two of the best players in a maroon shirt.

“He was one of the ones who hadn’t played for so long but he came back,” explained Devlin. “Maybe if it was just a normal league game he probably wouldn’t have played.

Cammy Devlin is proud of what he has achieved in his first season as a Hearts player. Picture: Craig Foy / SNS

“To give a performance like that, shows how much Hearts and us as a tight-knit group mean to him. It was super special, but I’m not surprised.

“I’m not surprised because I see him working hard in the gym every day – working harder than anyone.

“I wish him nothing but the best. This group is so close. It’s a pleasure for me to come from the other side of the world and be made to feel at home at Hearts. John has been a massive part of that.”

The final at Hampden was the biggest game of Devlin’s life and his proud parents flew over from Australia to watch him at the national stadium.

Cammy Devlin has looked up to John Souttar since arriving at Hearts last summer. Picture: Ross Parker / SNS Group

“It was everything I expected and more. For me, personally, to be a young Aussie coming over from the other side of the world and making a Scottish Cup final … I didn’t even think about that when I was coming over here.

“So to do that in front of my mum and dad was really special for me personally. It would have been extra special to win. It was an unreal experience. Our fans were outstanding. They came in numbers and sold out half the stadium, which we are so happy about. Unfortunately we couldn’t do it for them.

“Obviously now I’ve got a few weeks off I will reflect. I’m super proud of the team, so grateful and so lucky to be at this football club and I’m so proud to be a Hearts player.”

Devlin plans to fly back for a summer break to celebrate his 24th birthday with friends and family before returning for pre-season training on June 21. But he wouldn’t mind if that was interrupted by the international call-up that he covets.

Cammy Devlin keeps Rangers' John Lundstram at bay in the Scottish Cup final. Picture: Craig Foy / SNS

Australia have a World Cup play-off match against the United Arab Emirates on June 8, with a clash against South American giants Peru for a place at Qatar on the line. Devlin hasn’t received a Socceroos call-up before, but is confident it will come eventually.

“Definitely, it’s something that’s been on my mind for so long now,” he explained. “Obviously getting injured for ten or so weeks doesn’t help your cause. But I’ll just keep working hard for Hearts as much as I can like I always do and I’m sure with hard work and how I apply myself in games I will get my call up. Fingers crossed. I’ve made it so clear that playing for my national team is something I want to do.

Teammate Nathaniel Atkinson won his first cap in March and Devlin has no doubt his mate will be ready, despite being put through the ringer at Hampden.

“Natty has only got one groin at the moment,” he joked. “He’s hanging on. But he stuck in there for 120 minutes, so credit to him. I’m so proud of him. He’s such a good mate. “He’ll have a teaspoon of cement and he’ll toughen up. He’ll be fine.”

Cammy Devlin tackles Scott Arfield at Hampden Park. Picture: Sammy Turner / SNS
Hearts midfielder Cammy Devlin tackles Scott Wright in a typically combative performance from the Australian. Picture: Paul Devlin / SNS