Jon Soutar’s transfer dilemma to Rangers, as Robbie Nelson and Hearts have a trump card up their sleeve

“If the fans boo Jordan, they boo me too because if I choose Jordan to play with Kilmarnock, they criticize my choice.”

Steve Clarke’s words as he reacts to the angry reaction from Kilmarnock fans after Jordan Jones’ celebration of signing a pre-contract with Rangers in January 2019.

Less than a week later, Clarke was rewarded for his strong management and Jones for his professionalism as he scored the winning goal against the club he would join six months later.

It was a scenario that seemed almost far-fetched as it put a huge dent in the Light Blues’ title hopes that season in the first game after a winter break in which they had entered into the pinnacle of an Old Firm win at Ibrox.

After the 2-1 loss, in which new player Jermain Defoe also scored, Steven Gerrard said of Jones’ win: “It adds to the pain, but what can you do?”

Three years have passed and a similar scenario has now emerged with John Sutter, the man who had previously signed a contract with Rangers.

Hearts has warned that the Scotland seal will not be allowed to move to Ibrox this month on the cheap, with a £500,000 fee reported to make it happen.

Kilmarnock also stood firm by refusing to sell cheap and reaping the benefits when it finished third – the highest finish in the modern era.

Jambos are also well on their way to finishing off the best remaining of the season and won’t want to lose one of their most influential players.

Soutar is said to want to move through the M8 now, but if Geres doesn’t raise the money, he could see the defender under pressure when he faces his soon-to-be bosses.

Hearts travel to Ibrox in just three weeks and all eyes will be on Soutar if they run out in burgundy – the color some Gorgie’s legions demand they ever wear.

A section of Tynecastle’s followers are outraged by the 25-year-old, stating the club is nursing him through horrific misfortune with hock injuries.

This is the dilemma facing Nelson and he has to take a leaf out of Clarke’s book to either cancel it and continue playing him or take him off the scoring line if he feels his performance will be affected.

Talking to sports record About Jones’ return in 2019, Scotland’s former companion man, Ian Murray, said the winger put pressure on himself.

He was in a similar situation when Rangers tried to sign him when he became a free agent during the January 2005 transfer window.

But Murray kept his cards close to his chest because he didn’t want to compromise his position on Easter Road.

It was against future employers in the final game of that league campaign when Rangers beat Easter Road to take the title over Helicopters Sunday.

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But he insists that his focus that day was only on helping Hibbs avoid the heavy defeat that would have cost them qualification for Europe.

The fact that Murray didn’t stick to ibrox made life easier for him but Airdrie considered Jones – presumably the fact that Murray didn’t stick to ibrox made life easier for him but Airdrie considered Jones – and likely Souttar too. Same situation – make life difficult.

He said at the time that it was an unprofitable situation and said of Jones: “He has put himself in a difficult position more than anything else because the Rangers fans will now put him under the microscope.

“If he doesn’t have a good match, they will say he is not good enough. That is the case when you join the old company – first impressions are very important. I have kept my work private.”

Rangers may arrive at Sutter this month as they did with Glenn Camara and Scott Wright when they signed them from the Scottish Premier League contenders in January.

It could be a crucial period to help the player settle in and Giovanni van Bronckhorst will undoubtedly want to start working with his man right away.

Aside from finding his feet for next season, there is also the small matter of impacting this season’s massive title race, and the eventual winners’ prize – automatic Champions League qualification – makes the reported transfer fee, Hearts claim a loose change by comparison.


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