Why John Souttar Needs to Start for Rangers Against Celtic.

There is no denying that Rangers were poor yesterday. They gave away really poor goals and also missed a host of chances that should’ve sealed the game in their favour. One player who definitely wasn’t poor though, was John Souttar.

The Scottish centre back seems to be really getting into his stride after his comeback from long-term injury. He’s played exactly how he did with Hearts last season, confident and composed on the ball while also being strong in the air and difficult to get passed.

Let’s look at his numbers from yesterday;

  • 82% Pass Accuracy
  • 115 Touches
  • 100% Dribble Success (2/2)
  • 17 Passes Into The Final Third
  • 50% Long Ball Accuracy (5/10)
  • 100% Tackles Won (3/3)
  • 3 Interceptions
  • 4 recoveries
  • 90% Ground Duels Won (9/10)
  • 100% Aerial Duels Won (5/5)
  • Was Fouled 4 Times (Most of any player)

Really tremendous numbers from a player who didn’t deserve to be on the losing side yesterday. He was strong in the tackle, commanding in the air and looked to drive and get the ball forward as soon as possible. His performance was everything a manager would want from a modern day centre back and this was encouraging for his future at Rangers.

The main difference between Souttar and Davies the last two matches has been in the tackle and in duels. Davies can be knocked off the ball much more easily than Souttar can and in instances like the second St.Mirren goal last week Davies should’ve been strong in the tackle with Main and he wasn’t. There were also a couple of instances against Aberdeen when he was easily brushed aside but the same couldn’t be said for Souttar.

That’s something you can’t have in your game against Celtic and Rangers paid for it with the weak header that lead to their second goal in the previous Old Firm match. Despite Souttar also making a mistake that game, his desire and strength never come into question.

Ben Davies is a good ball playing defender but when it comes to being strong in the tackle and in the air, Souttar comes out on top and that’s what’s needed when you play against them.

That is why, if Goldson is fit, it should be Souttar who partners him in the semi-final. Michael Beale needs a massive performance from his players and on the pitch it’s been the Scotsman who’s looked more solid and dependable.

Who do you think should be the centre half pairing next weekend?

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