First Team

Souttar determined to bounce back

1st May 2016

John Souttar believes Jambos' mentality will see them return to action better than before after Celtic defeat.

John Souttar held his hands up and took responsibility after his error in Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Celtic at Tynecastle.

The young centre-half was robbed by Leigh Griffiths while trying to pass the ball out of defence, and the Scotland striker made Souttar pay by nutmegging him and planting the ball past Neil Alexander.

The Jambos had trailed to Colin Kazim-Richards’ opener in the first half, but Abiola Dauda levelled the scores with a fine individual strike in the second half.

Sadly, however, two defensive errors proved costly as Patrick Roberts and then Griffiths made the Hearts defence pay for their sloppiness.

“We were a bit tentative in the first half, and they had a lot of chances which wasn’t good enough,” said Souttar. “I thought we looked confident in the second half, and we were passing the ball well and got back to level terms.

“Sloppy play after that has cost us, including a mistake from myself, and that’s ended up costing us the game. That’s unfortunate as I thought we were their equal at that point.”

Despite admitting his slack play had ended up causing a goal, the confident centre-half vowed he wouldn’t be changing his style of play, as his strong mentality wouldn’t allow him to wallow in self-pity.

“It’s a learning curve for me, especially, and for the rest of the boys,” he continued. “We’re encouraged to play football a certain way, and we won’t stop trying to play good football. We need to play well to challenge next year.

“I’m strong, mentally. I’m not worried about what happened today. Obviously, I’m disappointed, but dwelling on it won’t help me. I know mistakes will happen when we want to play football from the back.

“How strong you are when you make a mistake is important. I took the ball out of the defence the next chance I got, I won’t change that, I won’t be going into my shell and hiding, it’s done now.”

Finally, although the team had fallen to Celtic, John insisted the team was making strides on the park and claimed the Jambos would go from strength to strength next season after some shrewd player recruitment.

“We’re getting better and better, and when we strengthen the squad, we’re going to make a right go of it, because we all believe in the strength and the talent in the players we have here, so we’re looking forward not back.”