John Souttar ‘likely’ to start for Scotland – a new Rangers injury incoming?!

John Souttar ‘likely’ to start for Scotland – a new Rangers injury incoming?!
DUMBARTON, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 20: John Souttar of Rangers is seen prior to the Dumbarton v Rangers - Scottish Cup match at Dumbarton Football Stadium on January 20, 2024 in Dumbarton, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

It has been strongly speculated that John Souttar is likely to start for Scotland v Northern Ireland on Tuesday, with the Rangers defender in red-hot form for club at present.

Watford stopper Ryan Porteous has been in good form for club and country on the right side of Steve Clarke’s three at the back for Scotland, but has no significant deputy and Souttar, as a right-sided CB and arguably the best one Scotland actually has right now, is being tipped to get the nod.

The first reaction is how deserved that is, given he patiently waited for his proper chance at Ibrox and now seems to be very prominent in the first team, but also there is caution:

Rangers have lost two players to the international breaks this year, with January seeing Abdallah Sima sidelined, and now we’ve lost Ridvan as well.

The hope is that Souttar does not join them, because while we have Leon Balogun ready and raring to go, we really don’t want to lose a defender unnecessarily, especially in a friendly.

That all said, with ex-Hibs man Porteous in such good nick at present, we doubt Clarke will veer away from a favourite, and he, Hendry and Kieran Tierney is by far the former Killie boss’s preferred selection.

Of course, Scotland collapsed v Holland, with Souttar given some blame for this – in from the cold, on the left side of a three-man defence, the right-sided ex-Hearts man didn’t really stand a chance in this one, very much out of position with effectively unfamiliar team mates.

But the last thing we need is another injury, so a lot of Rangers supporters would prefer Porteous keeps his place and Souttar remains fit.

In reality, Clarke is cliquey. He sticks with his mates, regardless of results, and while they’d been good to the point of Euro 2024 qualifying, the past 6 matches have seen a desperate dip and they’ve hit the floor.

Some say he needs to change things, and Souttar, and Bologna’s red-hot Lewis Ferguson are in line to start v Ulster, but time will tell if Clarke has the flexibility to make changes outside of his cliquey mates.

Probably not.

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