Hearts still hopeful of signing Rudi Skacel

Gary Locke chats with Rudi Skacel at Riccarton
Gary Locke chats with Rudi Skacel at Riccarton
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Hearts manager Gary Locke has not given up hope of signing Rudi Skacel once the club exit administration.

Skacel continues to train at Riccarton with Locke’s first-team squad whilst administrators BDO try to oversee a transfer of ownership to Edinburgh businesswoman Ann Budge.

Both the player and Locke believe that a deal is still possible.

Hearts can only sign players on a one-in, one-out basis whilst in administration and failed in an attempt to add Skacel to their squad in January. They cancelled the playing registration of their goalkeeping coach, Alan Combe, and petitioned the Scottish Professional Football League to let them sign Skacel in his place. The request was declined because Combe had not been named in a first-team squad all season.

Locke admitted today he is still keen to bring the talismanic midfielder back to Tynecastle for a third time, and is willing to wait for the chance to do so. BDO hope Hearts will be out of administration by the end of April and Skacel also seems willing to sit tight until then.

“It was disappointing we couldn’t sign him but he’s quite happy training with us at the moment to keep his fitness up,” Locke told the Evening News. “Rudi is great to have about the place and I’m delighted he’s here. It’s no secret I tried to bring him in through Alan Combe’s registration. We couldn’t do that because the league didn’t allow us to do it.

“He’s certainly a player I would like at the club. He’s training with us at the moment and I’ve enjoyed having him in and around the squad and on the training pitch with the younger lads. We’ll just carry on as normal until something else changes.

“There’s no doubt he’s worth waiting for. Everyone knows his qualities, me in particular because I’ve worked with him before. He’s 34 now but players nowadays who look after themselves can play on for a long time. My best friend in football, Davie Weir, played till he was 40 because he looked after his body.

“It’s not like you have a shelf-life now where, at 35, you have to retire. If you’re athletic and stay fit and you know the game, you can keep going. When you get older, you can save your legs a bit because your head tells you where the ball is going to land and things like that.

“Rudi has looked after himself. He’s in good shape. Obviously the lack of games is a wee concern but he’s a player anybody would want in their team.”

Skacel spent two previous spells with Hearts, from 2005 to 2006 and from 2010 to 2012, winning two Scottish Cups in the process.