JOHN SOUTTAR doubts team-mate Kyle Lafferty would have been given the same show of support handed to him by Hearts in the wake of gambling addiction confession had he been playing elsewhere.
Lafferty opened up earlier this week on his struggle, admitting he had lost thousands of pounds over a near decade-long battle.
Hearts owner Ann Budge and boss Craig Levein have now vowed to support the Northern Ireland striker in any way they can.
And Souttar reckons that is testament to the responsible approach now being adopted by the Tynecastle chiefs.
“For Kyle to come out and speak publicly just shows what type of guy he is,” said the defender. “He just wants to help everybody else out. Hopefully others going through the same thing can now feel able to get help too.
“I’m sure what he was going through wasn’t easy but we’ve all got his back and the club have dealt with it.
“It must have been very tough for him going through this, all the while having to play on a Saturday. But he’s a great guy and hopefully he can come through this.
“It also just shows what type of club this is by the fact they have backed Kyle and looked after him. The gaffer and [assistant boss] Austin MacPhee, people like that, have been brilliant for him behind the scenes.
“I’m not sure other clubs would have backed a player so publicly.”
Hearts travel to Dundee on Saturday but Souttar admits he cannot wait for the club’s Tynecastle absence to come to an end.
The Jambos are not due to return to their spiritual home until November as construction work on their new £12million main stand continues.
So far, they have faced six away trips while their one ‘home’ match of the Ladbrokes Premiership campaign to date was played at Murrayfield.
But Souttar reckons their tally of nine points is not a bad return given that challenging run of fixtures.
And with a run of seven straight matches at Tynecastle – starting with the unveiling of the new-look Gorgie ground against Kilmarnock on November 5 – still to come, he says there is plenty scope to boost that figure.
“We’ve picked up some good results recently away from home and when you consider the fact we’re not playing at Tynecastle, that is massive,” he said.
“If you look at our record last season we got to second place at one point yet we didn’t have a good away record.
“So missing out on those home games in front of our fans is not easy at all. For us to be playing away from home and be playing as well as we are is encouraging, so I still think it’s been a good start to the season.
“We’re looking forward to getting back. Tynecastle is a special place to play and the atmosphere is amazing.
“Everyone knows that if we play well at Tynecastle, the momentum the fans can build up is incredible.
“If we end up with a run of home games and the fans get behind us, it could be very interesting.”
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe