Hearts’ Zdenek Zlamal on disagreements with wife and pain of Scottish Cup final loss

Arguments in the Zlamal household don’t centre around the toilet seat being left up or whose turn it is to vacuum. They are far more serious. Kamila Zlamal, wife of Hearts’ Czech goalkeeper Zdenek, is trying to persuade her husband to stay in Edinburgh for the rest of their lives after falling in love with the city. He is resisting, leading to some minor disagreements.

Wednesday, 3rd July 2019, 6:30 am
Zdenek Zlamal

Zlamal’s contract runs until 2021 so no immediate decision is required. The couple have quite different views on the matter. The keeper, 33, won’t rule out staying in Scotland post-retirement but is keen to return with his spouse to their homeland. They are likely to continue butting heads for the foreseeable future.

“I feel settled, 100 per cent,” said Zlamal. “The problem in my career was that, for three years, I changed club every season. That was really tough and hard for my family. Now I am here and I want to stay as long as possible. My family and me have settled in Edinburgh. My wife wants to live there for the rest of her life. She loves Edinburgh.

“I am more 50/50. I am from Czech Republic and I am a proud Czech. I want to go back there after my career, so at home there is a little bit of fighting with my wife! She just loves the people, the restaurants and facilities in Edinburgh. There is a lot of things to do for kids. It’s not like we don’t have those things in Prague but she said the people are more lovely in Edinburgh. I think they are the same.

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“Maybe we will stay here but it depends if I get any job in Scotland. I still have two years’ contract so I am not thinking about this just now. My son is going to nursery and Edinburgh feels like my home. That stability is very important for me.

“I feel like, after a long time, that I have found the right club for me and I have everything I could want in Edinburgh and at Hearts. Okay, I was punched and bad things happen but these are small details.”

That punch came from a Hibs fan in last October’s Edinburgh derby. It was one incident in a tumultuous first season in Scotland for the goalkeeper. He helped Hearts reach the Betfred Cup semi-final and Scottish Cup final but they finished sixth in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

Zlamal admitted taking time to get over the Scottish Cup final loss to Celtic. He conceded a penalty for a foul on Odsonne Edouard when Hearts were 1-0 ahead but maintains he did not touch the Frenchman. Edouard scored from the spot later converted the winning goal.

“For three or four days, I still had the Scottish Cup in my mind. It was very tough to forget that,” said Zlamal. “Time is a healer and the holiday helped, but that was the hardest loss of my career. We were so close to doing something so special. Personally, I looked back and thought, ‘it was not a foul’. Then I got my finger to the penalty. It was a matter of centimetres. These are hard things to get out of your head.”

He intends to use the frustration to drive himself and Hearts on towards silverware this year. “The Betfred Cup semi-final was a slightly different situation because I think we were the weaker team, whereas in the final it was 50/50. That makes it more hard to take,” he said.

“Now it is done, I need to look forward and I can say for sure that the pain will motivate me. It is not just myself, I think this will drive on the whole team to lift a trophy.

“We got the chance to see how excited the fans were, enjoy the build up and play in such a big match and we all want to get back there. I want to bring a trophy back to Tynecastle. I know that will be very hard but I believe we can be better this season.”