Lee McCulloch: 'Top-class' John Souttar can be an asset for Scotland

Souttar's big game mentality can help him make the Euros, his former coach has said.

Lee McCulloch: ‘Top-class’ John Souttar can be an asset for Scotland SNS Group

John Souttar’s “pressure game” performances can help him seal a place in Scotland’s Euro 2024 squad, according to his former coach Lee McCulloch.

Former Ibrox favourite McCulloch spent two years coaching the centre-back at Hearts before Souttar made the move to Rangers, and having watched him develop over time, he believes the 27-year-old has matured into a ‘top-class’ player.

Souttar, whose career was disrupted by a succession of serious injuries, has become a key player at Rangers as they pursue a domestic treble and is part of the Scotland squad for the friendlies against Netherlands and Northern Ireland over the next week.

Though competition for a place in Steve Clarke’s Euros squad is intense, particularly in central defence, McCulloch is in no doubt that Souttar would be an asset, citing his performances in the Europa League and crunch domestic games as proof.

“I think he’s looking good as long as he gets a run of games,” the former Rangers player told STV.

“He’s a top-class defender. I know his attributes and his strengths and the biggest one for me is that he’s a winner.

“I know the way he trains every day.

“He always seems to play well in the pressure games and I think that’s something that you can lean on him with.  He’s got that composure to defend and play.

“Every player that’s there or around the squad will be trying to get a seat on that plane and the overall squad has been cut so it makes it hard for Steve Clarke and for the players who aren’t guaranteed to be there.

“John will be like every other player and desperate to play well for his club to get to the Euros.”

Playing well for his club will be crucial for Souttar as Rangers head into what looks like being a tense title-run-in, with the Ibrox side doing battle with Celtic to become Premiership champions.

McCulloch has been impressed by the huge turnaround in form under manager Philippe Clement and thinks there’s now a “togetherness and confidence” on show that can stand the team in good stead.

“I think everybody is looking forward to watching the title race unfold,” he said.

“Celtic are looking strong and they are getting players back, so nothing is really a gimme.

“It’ll be what the manager has said since the first minute he came in: One game at a time and try and improve every day.

“The Old Firm games will be important but every game will be. There’s not many to go so it’ll be about taking them one at a time and treating them all as important, including the Old Firm ones.”

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