When Rudi Skacel pulled back his left foot Hearts fans knew something special was likely to follow.
The Czech star became a legend in Gorgie thanks to the connection he built up with the support through his 48 goals for the club. Two such strikes arrived in Scottish Cup final victories as he confirmed his status as a big-game player when he pulled on the maroon and white.
Over two spells with the club Skacel wowed fans with his ferocious but accurate shooting ability from his left foot. Not only did he show that in games but he would give fans an inkling off what was about to transpire in the warm-up before the match.
Team-mates got to witness the player cultivate and refine his finishing each and every day after training.
In an interview with Open Goal, former Hearts star Ryan McGowan explained Skacel’s methods and mindset to become a feared striker of the ball in Scotland.
“He has got one of the sweetest left foot strikes,” the Australian said.
“Obviously everyone seen it at Hearts, even in training he would score rockets. He used to practice all time, even after training he used to get the young boys to ping it out to him at the edge of the box, take a touch and hit it. He wouldn’t put a goalie in, he’d just continuingly hit the target and if he missed the target it would only be by a couple of inches.
“He used to say that if you hit it hard enough and the keeper saves it and holds it you are still going to get a clap and they are still going to shout ‘Rudi, Rudi’. He just used to hit the target, make the keeper save it.
“I think Kris Boyd said it once that if you aim for the keeper chances are you are not actually going to hit the keeper, you’re going to go either side so it’s going to make them save it.
“I think that’s what he used to do, hit it as hard as he can and because he used to do it every day, repetition, repetition, he got it perfect and nine times out of ten it probably went in.”
McGowan also revealed that the Rudi Skacel fans saw on the pitch was different to the one off the pitch.
He said: “He was a good guy, quiet, quite reserved. The most he used to talk or be animated was Tynecastle when he was waving to all the fans, talking to all the fans.
“He was a really good guy to have around the changing rooms and a good professional. He was coming towards the end of his time but his body fat, how he kept himself, in the gym was really good.”
Join our Facebook group Our Edinburgh to share images and news from and around the Capital