Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou delivers honest verdict on rivals' transfer saga

By David Walton

January 23, 2022

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has delivered his honest verdict on the saga between Rangers, Hearts, and John Souttar.

Souttar has signed a pre-contract at Ibrox that will come into effect in the summer. However, there is constant speculation over whether the player will leave Tynecastle for Ibrox now. Souttar sat out yesterday’s 5-0 win for Hearts over Auchinleck Talbot after being booed by his own supporters last week against St Johnstone.

That puts his selection call into doubt for Wednesday night’s crunch clash between the Jambos and the Hoops. The latest being that Robbie Neilson believes the player will stay as he stated Souttar missed the Auchinleck game due to injury [Daily Record].

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

However, Postecoglou delivered his verdict on the current saga ahead of Wednesday, as he took a classy move in backing the player.

As quoted by the Herald, Ange said: “It’s a challenging position for the player and club who have to deal with that. John strikes me as professional player who has his eye on the job in hand. As long as he’s representing Hearts, I expect him to perform as he’s been doing – which is playing well.

“I feel for players in that situation. But they have made a decision and know there is going to be blowback for it. Is it better in England where you can’t sign a pre-contract with clubs in the same league? Potentially because Souttar’s situation isn’t healthy for anyone.

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“But irrespective of the rules, I guarantee you discussions take place with players in the same league down in England as well.”

Celtic boss tells it like it is on John Souttar saga

Postcoglou sums everything up extremely well here. It’s a delicate situation given Souttar isn’t his player, but Ange has clearly moved to back him regardless in a classy move.

What it is, however, is a total mess for Hearts heading into Wednesday. Sure, it didn’t affect them against Talbot yesterday, but Celtic are a fair few tungs up the ladder from the test Hearts got at Beechwood Park.

If Souttar plays, he will likely come under fierce criticism from both sets of supporters. The Hearts fans are absolutely livid that he’s joined Ibrox on a pre-contract deal. It doesn’t look good for their club’s image given they believe they have the potential to compete at the top end of the table.

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

But that’s something the player had to expect. He couldn’t seriously have believed that he could’ve just signed for Rangers and played out the rest of the season getting kisses and cuddles from the Hearts support. It’s a mess for him now, and he’ll likely be itching the move is made permanent now.

Regardless, Celtic have some payback to dish out here. Our loss to Hearts on opening day still hasn’t truly been avenged. However, 3 points against Neilson’s side on their own turf in front of a hostile night-time Tynecastle crowd? It’s almost as sweet as it gets.

It’ll be interesting to see if Souttar is involved of course. Irrespective of whether he is, the expectation for Celtic remains the same. Another win and another good performance please.

In other news, How Celtic winger James Forrest is feeling injury-wise after the winter break