Scottish Cup final: Rudi Skacel wants to go out on a high - again

Tynecastle icon said farewell after helping Hearts to win the Cup in 2006 and aims to repeat the feat today

RUDI SKACEL carried a black plastic bag containing all of his possessions when he walked out of the Riccarton training centre for the last time this week.

The Hearts players spent the second half of this week preparing for the William Hill Scottish Cup final by training at Tynecastle.

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While Skacel wasn’t the only one to have cleared out his locker, the Czech is unlikely to be refilling it at the beginning of the next SPL campaign.

The popular hitman’s contract is up at the end of the season and he admitted that he is likely to be moving on to pastures new.

However, Hibs should be warned that Skacel is determined to go out on a high.

He won the cup with the Jambos back in 2006 in the final game of his first spell with the Gorgie club. It would appear that tomorrow will again be his swansong and the player would love to give the club’s supporters something to remember him by repeating that feat.

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He said: “I hope that it will be the same way and that I will be able to say goodbye in the same way as last time.

“I don’t know what will happen in the summer, but I know that this will probably be my last game for the club.

“If it is, it doesn’t matter because I want to leave everyone with good memories.”

The omens are all there for Hearts and their supporters. In the game against Gretna six years ago, Skacel was playing his final game for the club and was on 16 goals for the season going into the game. The stats are identical this year

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“I have only fantastic memories of 2006. The whole day was amazing and it is something that I will remember forever,” he said.

“It was a great day for everyone. Usually you remember the last couple of minutes of a game but I remember everything about it.

“After the game everyone was so emotional. It had been such a big game, such a long game and it was a big relief and a celebration when we won.

“Then we came back to Edinburgh and everyone was waiting and on the Sunday we were at Tynecastle, so it was like the celebrations came in three different parts. It was just amazing.

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“That day is one of the main reasons why I have such great motivation now to go out and do the same again tomorrow. I want to finish this season in the right way, I want to win the Scottish Cup again.”

Skacel, of course, scored one from open play and then one from the spot in 2006, Hearts’ last appearance in the Scottish Cup final.

“If I knew the secret, then it would be a whole lot easier this weekend,” he added. “Obviously we have to be focused and make sure that we start in the right way.

“We have to be properly prepared, ready from the first whistle and get the goals that we need to get the right result.

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“Hopefully it will not come to penalties but if it does, I don’t mind. It doesn’t matter how we win, just as long as we win. I would like to think that if we do everything right then we could win the game inside the 90 minutes. That is obviously what we want.

“I do have some superstitions before a game but this is definitely staying a secret with me. I think that every player has something that he does before a game and I have my own thing.

“We always have music in the dressing room before games. Sometimes Gary Locke does it, but he is getting an old man now so maybe it will be something different at Hampden!

“To be honest I don’t mind what kind of music is on. I just concentrate on preparing myself and the rest of the boys fight over which music or which iPod is playing.

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“As long as we stay focused on the job we have to do, it is not important. It doesn’t matter.

“It is just as important to prepare yourself mentally as it is physically. It is up to each player how he prepares and what he needs to do.

“They all know what kind of game this will be because they have all played in them before.

“We must stay calm during the game, although we know that could be difficult. We have to make sure that we do the right things on the pitch.”

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He added: “We have to forget very fast about the result (last week’s 5-0 defeat) against Celtic because now we have a very big final coming up.

“We want to finish this season on a high – save the season if you like. We are looking forward to the game and we are excited like the rest of our supporters.

“We will do everything that we can to get the right result.

“A derby game is a derby game, but this one is something special I think. It is special not only for Edinburgh but for the whole of Scotland.

“It is something that this country has not seen for a very long time. It is a massive game and for 116 years these two sides have not played one another in the Cup final. It is unbelievable.

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“There is so much at stake for everyone and we are just looking forward to finishing the job to save our season.”

Scottish Cup final on

IF you’re not one of the lucky Hearts or Hibs fans with a ticket for Hampden, why not join in our live Scottish Cup final blog?

Sports writer Martin Dempster will be online from 2pm to 5pm reporting from Hampden where he will be providing updates on the atmosphere, a minute-by-minute account of the action and will also be reporting on the post-match celebrations.

Our site will also be a hive of Cup Final activity with the latest news posted throughout the day, post-match reaction from both sides, alongside a final whistle match report, fan reaction videos and picture galleries pinpointing the game’s crucial points.

We’ll also be advising fans of the winning team of the final details of the open top bus celebrations.

• Listen to Moira Gordon and Stuart Bathgate discuss the match in our Scottish Cup final podcast.