Hearts legend Rudi Skacel paved the way for Czechs – Zdenek Zlamal

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Goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal has admitted the success of Rudi Skacel at Hearts makes it easier for Czech players to settle in at Tynecastle.

Summer signing Zlamal, 32, has made the No.1 spot his own with a series of assured displays which have helped Craig Levein’s side claim four wins from four to sit top of the Ladbrokes Premiership. The former FC Fastav Zlin stopper will be joined in Scotland in January by countryman David Vanecek, the FK Teplice striker having signed a pre-contract with Hearts. And Zlamal believes popular former Jambos such as Roman Bednar, Michal Pospisil and, in particular, double Scottish Cup-winning legend Skacel, will make Vanecek’s switch to Gorgie that bit smoother.

Rudi Skacel

Rudi Skacel

“The club has had good experiences with Czech players and therefore come looking for us,” Zlamal told Czech newspaper Jicinsky Denik.

“Rudi Skacel left a big mark. He is very popular here. The people here still go around in his shirts and remember him.

“I was surprised how great a legend he was here. When you look around the place, you can see how big.

“His shirts are still sold at the club shop and there are posters of him holding the cup when you go for a massage!

Zdenek Zlamal

Zdenek Zlamal

“He’s one of the biggest club legends and people still love him.

“Hearts have a good history with Czech players and that makes it easier (to adapt) for the likes of me and David Vanecek.”

Zlamal also claims to be a huge fan of Scottish football culture, insisting Edinburgh is the perfect place to ply his trade.

He said: “When I came over to visit, I got on well with and had fun with the coach and the environment was so impressive for me, when I was shown, the stadium, the club museum, the club shop, that was enough for me.

“I also like the general approach of the people in Scotland to football. The whole club culture is absolutely amazing.

“I’ve adapted very quickly and Edinburgh is a beautiful city. It’s great to be here and to play in such a perfect environment.”