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John Souttar gets Scotland reward for refusing to ‘crumble’ after injury set-backs

John Souttar during Scotland's training session in Spain.

Hearts defender John Souttar will want to prove to the Scotland management team over the next week his football talent is of international standard.

But in coach John Carver’s eyes, he has already shown his mental strength is beyond question.

And the former Dundee United centre-back’s call-up for a World Cup qualifying double-header is a fitting reward for refusing to “crumble” when serious injuries kept knocking him down.

“I actually met John for the first time during my first Scotland camp a year ago,” said Carver.

“He was recovering from an Achilles tendon injury.

“We were talking about it today and I said: ‘It must be difficult coming back from two’ and he said: ‘John, it’s actually been three.’

“Now, it would be difficult enough coming back from two, but he’s had three.

“To come back from that, doesn’t that show you something about his personality and his character?

“To work his way back into the team, it’s brilliant for John.

“I remember seeing him earlier in the season – against St Mirren – and he played well in the game.

“We were obviously concerned about his conditioning. He was coming back from these serious injuries.

“But when I watched him on Saturday you could tell he’d fully recovered, he was in a good position. I think he’s played almost every game.

“He was outstanding again on Saturday.

“So that’s a testament to his character and his professionalism.

“I think if you’re out for so long, with so many serious injuries, it can be a lonely place.

“If you’re not strong mentally you can crumble.

“But John’s obviously a strong character and that’s why, like I say, he’s done ever so well. He’s one of the stars at Hearts, that’s for sure.”

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