By Alex McLeish

14th Oct, 2021 | 12:00pm

McLeish: I've managed Souttar and I know he would jump at joining Rangers in new year

Alex McLeish has suggested Hearts defender John Souttar would jump at the chance to join Rangers next year.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Scotland manager insisted the 25-year-old has the ability to make the step up to a title-chasing side.

As reported by the Scottish Mail on Sunday (10th October via Press Reader), Rangers have long-standing interest in Souttar and could make a move to sign him in January.

The centre-back is out of contract at Tynecastle next summer, meaning he could be available for a nominal fee.

He only returned from a serious ankle injury back in April.

McLeish, who was manager for all three of Souttar’s Scotland appearances, admitted the Hearts star is “rebuilding” his career.

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However, he suggested the defender would want to move up a level to play for Rangers.

McLeish told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “He’s had a few injuries. Is he at the level of the current Rangers guys?

“At the moment he’s probably just behind them but you would say he’s rebuilding his career again after a threatening injury.

“I had him in the Scotland squad a few times and he was an emerging youngster then.

“He’s getting to that mid-20s range where he maybe feels he wants to move up a level of club. Hearts are a massive club, Edinburgh giants, and anybody that plays for them would want to be having relative success against the Old Firm.

“It’s been a long time since anyone outside the Old Firm won the league. Certainly, Souttar is suited to going a bit further in his career.

“The Jambos will do everything to keep him. He’s a good servant to them, they’ve helped him to recuperate.

“He’d probably keep that in mind, but at the end of the day, you know what it’s like in football these days. People will move on at the drop of a hat.”

In other news, this is when Gerrard could quit Rangers amid update on Newcastle hunt, claims pundit.