Skacel set for ‘special game’ against Hearts

Rudi Skacel, Raith Rovers -  credit - FPA  -
Rudi Skacel, Raith Rovers - credit - FPA -

All eyes will be on Rudi Skacel on Sunday as the Hearts legend prepares to line up against them for Raith Rovers in the Scottish Cup.

Skacel was the focus of media attention this week as he fielded questions about his Hearts days, but he stressed that his main focus in on winning the game for his current club.

Skacel won the Scottish Cup with Hearts in 2012.   Pic Ian Rutherford

Skacel won the Scottish Cup with Hearts in 2012. Pic Ian Rutherford

“It’s an important game for us,” he said.

“We aren’t on a great run right now but this is a different competition.

“It’s the Scottish Cup, it’s live on TV and it’s a big game for the club and our young squad.

“It will be a great day on Sunday and hopefully we can get a good result.”

Skacel is expected to get a heroes reception from the 3500 Hearts fans inside Stark’s Park on Sunday and he admits that it will be a sentimental occasion.

“Will it be emotional for me? It will be different because it is Hearts,” he said.

“During the game it will be strange because it is 90 minutes playing against supporters who always got behind me. It’s a special game. I won’t lie.

“But we are professionals, it’s a Scottish Cup tie and I want to do well, even though it’s against my former club.”

Skacel stopped short of answering questions over whether he would celebrate scoring a goal on Sunday - which would be his first for Raith since joining in the summer.

“Ask me again after the game,” he quipped.

Skacel’s fondest memory of his time at Tynecastle was the 2012 Scottish Cup final win over Edinburgh rivals Hibernian – which he gave a reminder of during his appearance at Easter Road in December by making the 5-1 gesture as he was substituted.

“It was one of the games that I will definitely remember for the rest of my life,” he said.

“It is a famous game in Scotland and in Edinburgh.

“You might have to wait another 100 years to see a Hearts-Hibs game like that.

“It’s in the past but I have great memories. It was amazing for the whole community and it was a great result.

“People remind me of that game all the time – not just in Edinburgh but all over the world.”

Skacel has not quite made the impact hoped for at Stark’s Park this season, making just six starts and 10 substitute appearances, and he admits this season could be his last as a player.

“Hopefully there will be some more moments but there won’t be many because I don’t think I have many days left in front of me,” he said.

“I don’t play much at the moment but I want to enjoy every last minute I have as a player.

“I have had fun here and hopefully there are a few more moments on the pitch for me.

“I think I will finish at the end of the season, but you never know. It depends how I feel. I feel fine just now but you can’t play forever.

“I’m almost 38 and I am not playing much. We will see. Life doesn’t end when your football career ends.

“I am prepared for that. I don’t want to be around professional football when I finish.”