Some Rangers fans weren’t completely happy with John Souttar

Some Rangers fans weren’t completely happy with John Souttar
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)

A lot of Rangers fans have sought to blame John Souttar for Rangers’ defence on Sunday not being completely watertight and the designated away side getting a bit of joy on Jack Butland’s goal.

It was of course the first time Souttar had started beside Nigerian defender Leon Balogun in some considerable period, such is the iron grip vice-captain Connor Goldson had on the right defensive slot, but indeed it was the ex-Werder stopper who took up Goldson’s position.

And while there were some hairy moments, it was a vastly-improved defensive showing.

But as we say, some fans appear very focused on Souttar’s display, and the fact he’s been ‘better’, with many of them typically leaping on his back and proclaiming Connor Goldson to be far superior, or advocating a start for Ben Davies or Leon King.

In typical fan fashion, you’re only as good as your last match and a few fans reckon Souttar, having been extremely impressive all season and up for Player of the Year, is now rubbish.

So why did he have a slightly ‘lesser’ display, and in fairness, he did.

Well there’s a lot of reasons.

First of all, this was his first time with someone other than Goldson for a very long time – Souttar has been so used to covering Goldson and doing all the work for two men as he usually does that he found himself a little ‘lost’ by having a partner who took so much of the flack off him.

So yes, his reading of the game suffered a bit by having someone next to him capable of doing the same job as he does.

Secondly, this meant that instead of covering across and cleaning up the stuff Goldson misses, Souttar was remaining at his side, which in fairness isn’t his natural position, and he was trying to play as the ‘foil’ defender. Which he hasn’t done for a long time.

In simple terms, Balogun came storming in like the brilliant pro he is, using all his experience, power and pace in a massive tussle with Lawrence Shankland, while Souttar played the ‘lesser’ role of keeping it tighter on his side – something which he’s not too versed in.

Result: the partnership just needs a bit more time, and it’ll look completely robust. It already was a massive improvement, but Souttar needs to readjust to not doing everything himself and instead complimenting Balogun.

That will just take a bit of time, and we’re optimistically hoping the semi-final was that time.

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