John Souttar has been in and out of the Rangers starting XI since signing for the club back in summer of 2022.

Injuries have hampered the former Hearts man but now he is feeling fitter than ever and he feels ready to impact Philippe Clement’s side in the second half of the season with the Govan outfit fighting it out in the Premiership, Scottish Cup and the Europa League.

Souttar also has the added incentive of booking a place on the plane with Scotland this summer as Steve Clarke’s side head to Germany for Euro 2024.

With big games to come both domestically and internationally this year, Souttar is ready to show what he is all about and first on his to-do list is becoming a Rangers regular.

He explained: “Every game we’ve got to be at it. It’s all about taking one game at a time and everybody has to perform to their best, no matter who is playing.

“But we know that and I’m looking forward to the opportunity.

“We’ve got a lot of games coming up. We’ve just come through a spell over the festive period where we had so many games too.

“It’s natural that you pick up injuries during those kind of hectic runs with boys have to play as many minutes as they have.

“So everybody is going to be needed again with this next busy period approaching.

“The manager has already said that so getting guys like Borna Barisic, Ryan Jack and Tom Lawrence back is massive for us, not just off the pitch but on it too.

“The gaffer has made it clear it’s one game at a time and these boys will help us build that momentum again.”

Despite a Rangers injury crisis hitting the club as soon as Clement took over as manager, Souttar has managed to steer clear of issues with the defender himself admitting that he is in the best place physically that he has been for a long time.

The 27-year-old is now determined to remain available for selection, especially with the options in defence that Rangers currently have.

Asked how he is personally, Souttar responded: “Yeah I feel good. The gaffer has obviously been rotating me, Leon Balogun and Ben Davies. Connor Goldson has come out for a couple of games too.

“It’s just about making sure that when you are in, you take that opportunity. With the amount of fixtures we have coming up, we know everybody is going to get game time.

“For me, it’s about staying fit, staying healthy and when I’m playing, making sure I’m on it.”

Asked if the added incentive of being at the Euros this summer was an added motivation, Souttar said: “Absolutely. I’m feeling good at the moment. I’m feeling fit.

“I’ve gone quite a long spell without feeling anything so what happens in the end this summer will take care of itself.

“But I know if I’m playing well for Rangers and staying fit I’ll give myself a good chance. For the moment, though, all my concentration is here.”

Rangers were rocked by the news this week that their star performer of the season Abdallah Sima was sent home from the Africa Cup of Nations with a thigh injury.

The 22-year-old Senegal attacker has scored 15 goals since arriving on loan from Brighton in the summer.

The Senegal FA confirmed Sima would return to Rangers after he picked up the injury in training and a statement warned he could face a “long period of unavailability” after failing to get any minutes in the tournament in the Ivory Coast.

Souttar agrees Sima’s absence will be a blow, but he is confident that others can step up in the final third of the pitch.

“Yeah, we’ve got a good squad,” he responded about Rabbi Matondo and Fabio Silva stepping up to the plate. “There are numerous players who can do a job and all over the pitch we’ve got competition for places.

“If one person drops out for whatever reason, we know there’s somebody behind them that can fill their spot. That will only make you hungrier.”

Souttar played 90 minutes alongside Connor Goldson on Saturday as Rangers eased past Dumbarton 4-1 to book a spot in the fifth-round draw of the Scottish Cup.

The match was a potential banana skin, especially with the condition of Dumbarton’s pitch, but for Souttar he and his teammates showed the quality and professionalism required.

He explained: “It’s about getting through these games and trying to be as professional as possible and do things the right way.

“That’s what we tried to do but obviously it was difficult conditions. We’ve all played in these before, though. This is what Scottish football is all about. I enjoyed it!

“I grew up playing on pitches like that. Everyone has who has come through the ranks.

“You play on different fields and parks and they are all like that.

“Obviously I haven’t played on like that for a few years but this is what the cup is all about and I really enjoyed it.”

Rangers have already bagged the League Cup trophy this season under Philippe Clement and there is a clear confidence in camp that the same feat can be replicated in the Scottish Cup.

There is a long way to go in the competition, and with added pressures in the league and Europe, it will be a tough ask for the Ibrox outfit.

For Souttar though, he feels that Rangers are in a good place mentally and he has offered an insight into the belief currently on show within the squad.

Asked if he was desperate to add another trophy to his CV, he added: “Absolutely. You need to be professional and everybody has to be on it.

“I think we started well and in the first 15 minutes, we had three or four big chances.

“But in the end we got the job done and that’s all that matters.”