Hearts legend Rudi Skacel bows out after 20-year playing career

Rudi Skacel, who has retired as a player, won the Scottish Cup twice with Hearts. Picture: SNS.
Rudi Skacel, who has retired as a player, won the Scottish Cup twice with Hearts. Picture: SNS.
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Hearts legend Rudi Skacel has brought the curtain down on a stellar 20-year career.

The 39-year-old was an unused substitute for Czech club FK Pribram in their 1. Liga relegation play-off second leg match against Zbrojovka Brno yesterday. Pribram were playing at home and the game finished 0-0 following a 3-3 draw in the first leg.

Skacel joined Pribram in 2017 after ending his second spell in Scotland and scored five goals in 43 matches for the Bohemian outfit. He won promotion to the top flight in his first season.

Skacel enjoyed a glittering career at Hearts across two spells, winning the Scottish Cup twice – in 2006 against Gretna and 2012 against Hibs. He scored in both finals (two against Hibs) and is regarded as one of the Tynecastle club’s greats.

Described as a top professional both on the pitch and in the dressing room, Skacel, pictured, told Pribram’s website: “This is my last season. I’d hate to take up space. I’ve had a long career, and it’s got to end somewhere. I’ll miss being part of the dressing room. But life doesn’t end there.”

Asked how it felt to be playing alongside footballers who were up to 20 years younger than him, Skacel added: “My role in the team is different to what it was ten years ago, but the youngsters in the dressing room have prolonged my youth.”

Skacel’s professional career started with Hradlec Kralove in 1999, before moving to Slavia Prague and then Marseille. He joined Hearts on loan in the 2005-06 season and then again between 2010 and 2012. He also had spells at Dundee United and Raith Rovers.