Hearts boss Robbie Neilson insists that John Souttar wanted the Jambos to get what they “deserved” from Rangers after the Gers failed bid to land the Scotland defender before Monday’s transfer deadline.
Souttar has already signed a pre-contract to join Rangers in the summer when his Tynecastle contract comes to an end, with the Ibrox side offering £400,000 to lure him across the M8 last month.
Neilson is hopeful the defender will be fit to face his soon-to-be-employers tomorrow when Rangers host Hearts at Ibrox – and the Tynecastle gaffer is certain he’ll continue to get 100% from Souttar until he does leave in the summer.
“John Souttar was very strong with us, and didn’t want to go on the cheap. He wanted us to get what we deserved,” Neilson said.
“We didn’t get that offer so we made the decision to keep him and he’s more than happy with that.
“Right from the start when we knew it was happening we spoke to John and said, ‘This is what we’re looking for’.
“He agreed, but the fee never came. If the money doesn’t get paid, the player doesn’t go.
“I’ve spoken to John almost every day for the last month about where he is, how he’s feeling, how his injuries are, and about the situation.
“I spoke to him again this morning and everything’s good. He’s been great — he understands the situation.
“His main objective now is, first and foremost, to get us European football, and to stay in the Scotland set-up.
“If he continues to play the way he has been, he’ll do that.
“He’s one of our best players and you want your best players to play. John knows the situation and he has dealt with it very well.
“If he is fit he plays. If he is not fit he won’t play. That’s it.
“Everyone else talks about this and that, but John’s a top professional. I know when he goes out there, he’ll give 100 per cent so I don’t have any qualms about it at all.”
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