John Souttar: My dream was to play for Scotland – not Australia

John Souttar, left, and Scotland assistant coach James McFadden
John Souttar, left, and Scotland assistant coach James McFadden
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John Souttar has confirmed his commitment to playing for Scotland and insists he has never contemplated the prospect of switching his allegiance to Australia.

The Hearts defender is poised to make his senior international debut as part of the Scotland squad which faces a Hampden double-header against Belgium tomorrow night and Albania on Monday.

Souttar’s late call-up, having initially been named as part of the under-21 squad, came after Hearts manager Craig Levein suggested his player could be lost to the country because of his eligibility for Australia.

But Souttar, whose mother Heather is Australian, believes there was a touch of mischief in Levein’s intervention. The 21-year-old has stressed playing for Scotland has always been the only option in his mind.

“You know what the gaffer’s like,” smiled Souttar. “He (Levein) enjoys that side of things. Maybe it did help me get called up with him saying it, maybe it didn’t, I’m not sure.

“My mum is Australian, but it’s not something that I’ve really considered. It has always just been Scotland for me. I suppose on paper I could play for Australia.

“I suppose it would be an option, but I don’t think it would feel right. I have grown up watching Scotland and I want to play for Scotland. No, I have never really considered playing for Australia at all.

“I’ve never even been to Australia, although I’ve heard it’s nice! I’ve had no contact from the Australian FA at any age-group level. I don’t think anybody really knew about my Australian links until the gaffer told the press about it. I didn’t know he was going to say it, I was surprised. He must have picked it up when I was having a bit of banter with the Australian lads at Hearts.

“But it’s just a dream come true for me to be part of the Scotland squad. It is everything I have wanted to do since I was younger.”