John Souttar expects Hibs to get a different Ryan Gauld to the one who left Dundee United – although the Hearts defender joked that their friendship might be finished.
Gauld is heading to Dubai to join Hibs on loan from Sporting Lisbon after growing up in the Dundee United academy alongside childhood friend Souttar.
The Tynecastle Park player visited his mate in Portugal during his recent recovery from injury and believes he is more mature. However, he doesn’t want him to do too well at Hearts’ biggest rivals.
“I went out to see Gauldy in Portugal. I didn’t tell him to sign for the opposite side of Edinburgh,” smiled Souttar. “The friendship might be ruined but it’s good to have him back.
“I think he has grown up as a person over in Portugal. I haven’t seen a lot of him football-wise but he is looking forward to coming back [to Scotland]. You might see a different player to the one who went over there.
“We’ve got a group chat and all our mates are having a bit of banter in it just now. I’m looking forward to seeing him but hopefully he doesn’t do that well.”
Souttar hopes to be ready to return from hip surgery later this month. He was sidelined in October, adding to a Hearts injury crisis which also claimed Christophe Berra, Steven Naismith, Uche Ikpeazu and Jimmy Dunne.
“It has not flown by but there have been a lot of people in the physio room. It is good for people in there rehabilitating but not for the team,” admitted Souttar.
“It was a weird one, seeing so many big players coming into the treatment room. Especially when Jimmy Dunne came in – another defender.
“I think there were about five or six of us on the treatment table at the same time.
“It was more difficult for the medical staff because they were rushed off their feet. They’ve been brilliant for me, all really good.
“I go see my Thai therapist every week, too, and he’s helped me.”