BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Hearts new boy John Souttar insists Robbie Neilson’s commitment to young talent convinced him that Tynecastle was the perfect place to kick-start his career.
The 19-year-old completed his six-figure move from Dundee United to the Jambos with just minutes of the January transfer window remaining.
After seeing his progress stall in recent seasons at Tannadice, Souttar – who could make his debut in Sunday’s Edinburgh derby against Hibs – is keen to recapture his form in the capital.
And with the likes of Callum Paterson, Sam Nicholson and Jamie Walker thriving in Gorgie, he has no doubt head coach Neilson is the right man to realise his undoubted potential – and guide the club to silverware.
Souttar said: “It has been a tough couple of years for myself and some things have gone on, but this is a massive opportunity.
“I’ve spoken to the gaffer [Neilson] and this is a real chance for me to develop. I know he loves playing young boys in the first-team and I want to be a part of that.
“They are exciting times at this football club and it is great to be a part of it. There is a real buzz about the place and every is telling me how good it is here.
“People want to achieve things here; want to win trophies. Hopefully I can perform well and improve – the facilities here are second to none, with the new training ground being built – and win trophies.”
Souttar revealed that ex-Hearts favourite Ryan McGowan, a former Terrors teammate, raved about the atmosphere at Tynecastle in a bid to guide the youngster towards Gorgie.
He told Hearts TV: “Gowser spoke to me and told me how unbelievable the atmosphere is and I can’t wait to get started.
“The atmosphere is special and I expect it will be easier to be to the Hearts side than it was coming here as a United player!”
Souttar’s arrival capped a dramatic deadline day at Hearts, with Morgaro Gomis and Danny Swanson leaving the club and Don Cowie and Abiola Dauda arriving.
And Dauda, a loan capture from Dutch side until the end of the season, is keen to get the nod for a dramatic derby debut against Hibs.
The Nigerian striker said: “I’ve heard a lot of talk about it. It’s a big derby for the fans and you always have to respect these games for the fans, because this is what they live for.