Rangers legend Mark Hateley  thinks the criticism of Hearts star John Souttar after the recent defeat by Rangers is unfair – and thinks his critics should instead look at how good Jermain Defoe was.

Souttar’s performance was criticised after the veteran striker put in a really impressive performance against the Jambos at Tynecastle with the Gers picking up a comfortable 3-1 win.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - APRIL 13: John Souttar of Heart of Midlothian F.C. celebrates after scoring his team's second goal with Uche Ikpeazu of of Heart of Midlothian F.C. and Christophe Berra of Heart of Midlothian F.C. during the Scottish Cup Semi Final match between Heart of Midlothian and Inverness Caledonian Thistle at Hampden Park on April 13, 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Hateley insists that playing against someone so talented “leads to self doubt” as he defender Souttar’s performance against Defoe.

“Jermain is class, on and off the field. I take you back to the Hearts game and there was criticism of John Souttar’s performance. But you have to look at what Jermain does, even when he is not touching the ball,” Hateley told The Herald.

23rd January 2019, Tynecastle Park, Edinburgh, Scotland; Ladbrokes Premiership football, Heart of Midlothian versus Dundee; John Souttar of Heart of Midlothian

(photo by David Young/Action Plus via Getty Images)

“Look at the positions he takes up and the amount of thinking he makes defenders do.

“Souttar would normally be playing against someone that will just play up against him physically but being against someone like Jermain makes you think ‘if I make half a mistake here, he is in behind me and he has a shot on target and he will score a goal.’

“So that goes through your mind and it leads to self doubt. Jermain is already on top of it and, as he has proven on many occasions, he will get in behind you, hit the target and score goals.”

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - JUNE 30: John Souttar of Heats in action during the UEFA Europa League First Qualifying Round match between Heart of Midlothian FC and FC Infonet Tallinn at Tyncastle Stadium on June 30, 2016 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Souttar has been a key player for the Tynecastle side this season and his performance will be crucial in the Scottish Cup final at Hampden in two weeks against Celtic.

If the Scotland international can perform at his best then the Jambos could well be the team that ends Celtic’s hopes of a third consecutive domestic treble.

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