Ex-Hearts icon Skacel in talks with Raith

Rudi Skacel with Hearts in 2010
Rudi Skacel with Hearts in 2010

Famous ex-Hearts striker Rudi Skacel is to begin training with Raith Rovers, as manager Gary Locke hopes to conclude a deal to bring the former Czech Republic international to Stark’s Park.

The Raith website reported that the “iconic” former Tynecastle star had flown to Scotland yesterday (Thursday) and would link up with the rest of the squad for the trip to play Cove Rangers in Forfar this evening – adding that the move was sure to generate substantial interest across Scottish football, not least from the Edinburgh area.

Skacel, who turns 37 on Sunday, is due to join training next week at the Michael Woods Centre in Glenrothes, and efforts to secure his services for the coming season are continuing.

Locke, who was coach at Tynecastle during Skacel’s days with Hearts, confirmed the player was in talks with Raith and told the Fife Free Press he would be delighted if a deal could be concluded.

“We might be looking at a bit of help, particularly from the Edinburgh side, but if we can do something with him, we will try our best,” said the manager.

“I know him really well and I have a good relationship with him – I know his qualities.” said Locke, adding that Skacel would be an “invaluable” addition to the side if they could sign him.

For the moment, it was a case of “wait and see” as far as the negotiations went.

“We are trying to get a deal together but we have a budget to adhere to and don’t have a great of money,” explained Locke. “But, if we can get a bit of help, it would be great if we can get a deal, and we will try our best.”

Locke told the Rovers website that Skacel was very fit naturally and, once he regained his sharpness, he could be a first-class role model for the whole squad.

His mere presence was certain to create a buzz as the season began and, if it was possible to sign him, he could be a key player for Ratih in the coming months (pictures by SNS Group and Steven Brown).