Hearts must put Rangers on back foot – Souttar

John Souttar
John Souttar
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John Souttar insists Hearts must attack Rangers in an attempt to atone for their derby defeat. The centre-back feels a result at BT Murrayfield on Saturday would ease frustration amongst players and fans after losing against Hibs.

Simon Murray’s winning goal on Tuesday night left Hearts lamenting a below-par performance. Souttar explained that his team are still in transition but now need to take something this weekend when Rangers bring more than 14,000 supporters to the Capital.

Hearts beat St Johnstone 1-0 at Murrayfield last weekend before losing at Easter Road in a week of high-octane Premiership fixtures.

“It’s a big week for us. You look at the fixture list and there’s three tough games in a week,” said Souttar. “We were away to our rivals and two difficult games at Murrayfield. We’ve got to go there and get something against Rangers.

“I think it would help if we could win on Saturday. We have to go out and do ourselves justice. We need to go out and attack Rangers.”

Souttar stressed there is very little between Hearts and Hibs despite Neil Lennon’s team outplaying their opponents.

“It was a gutting defeat for us, especially to go down by a goal,” said the 21-year-old. “There wasn’t much between us. It wasn’t a great game, it was a typical derby, with a lot of fouls.

“We didn’t perform at all. We didn’t pass the ball well, or anything like that, and we didn’t create many chances. We can’t be saying we were unlucky, because we didn’t 
create enough.

“I think it’s clear we are a team in transition. It’s not an excuse, but it’s tough playing every game away from home, especially when we are still developing as a team. You can see Hibs are a settled side, while we are in transition.

“Everyone has off days or games where they don’t perform. Every side in the world will have a time when they play one of their rivals and don’t play well. It’s not a week in, week out kind of thing. I think it was an off day for us.”

One positive for Hearts was the performance of 16-year-old half-time substitute Harry Cochrane. He was one of three teenagers thrown into the derby by manager Craig Levein – the others being 19-year-old Jamie Brandon and 17-year-old Euan Henderson.

“Harry came on and did well against a tough midfield,” said Souttar. “He did himself justice but it was up to the older boys to help him and the others through the game. Playing in front of that kind of crowd can only be good for them. It was a physical game as well, so they can take a lot away from it.”