All last week, in the run up to the Scottish Cup, all we heard from the press was that John Souttar and Hearts needed to sort out the transfer to Ibrox as quickly as possible.
The fear – and that’s the right word for it – was that he would be cup-tied and unable to play for the media’s darlings. Souttar didn’t play in the cup. He was, apparently, injured.
Nobody should be buying that. It’s no surprise that he’s going to be fit for our visit. It’s even less surprising that all the talk demanding that Hearts release him has ceased temporarily. It suits all concerned for Souttar to stay for one more game.
Celtic have not been fooled by this obvious fraud.
Nobody should be, including the Hearts fans. Their club has already surrendered on this one. Ibrox is getting what it wants. He isn’t cup tied and he plays against Celtic; what else is there to say? The Hearts manager and his side are no more than puppets dancing on Ibrox’s string. Nobody really doubts that he’ll be there when the window closes.
Officials at Hearts and Ibrox must think we’re all mugs.
The media is laughing at the Tynecastle club, and Hearts appear not even to know it. They’ve stopped clamouring for the transfer not just because Celtic are coming to town. It’s because they know that this particular debate is over.
Ibrox has gotten its way, and nobody really doubts that Hearts will let him go within the week.
Talks continue “in the background” we’re told; I just wonder what the point of this subterfuge is, and who is it trying to con? Those talks are already over. Souttar will play; of course he will.
That’s what his paymasters want him to do, and they are no longer at Tynecastle.
The hacks must be loving it.
Their campaign to destabilise Hearts is over with.
All the noise that this matter has generated since he signed the pre-contract agreement has gone quiet.
Not that it matters to Celtic.
Our plans for this game will not be based on who Hearts were likely to field; we’d have expected Souttar to be around for this one.
We have our own issues to be dealing with.
Still … you cannot watch how this one has gone with other than disgust at the role the press has played in it.