Hearts: No surprise over rejected Skacel bid

Rudi Skacel: Wanted to return to Hearts. Picture: SNS
Rudi Skacel: Wanted to return to Hearts. Picture: SNS
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GARY Locke has expressed his disappointment at the Scottish Premier Football League’s denial of Hearts’ request to sign Rudi Skacel as a replacement for Alan Combe.

The Tynecastle boss knew it was a strong possibility that the league would refuse to accept the midfielder was a like-for-like replacement for the goalkeeper, but said he was primarily disappointed for the player himself.

“I wouldn’t say it was a surprise, but I’m obviously disappointed about it,” Locke said yesterday. “We were told that if you get a player out, you get a player in. That’s what we tried to do. I’m more disappointed for Rudi himself, because all the lad wants to do is play. He’s been denied that opportunity, which is the most disappointing thing. We talked yesterday, after we got the decision, and he was as disappointed as me.

“He wants to play for Hearts. It’s not breaking the bank or anything – he’s going to come here and play for virtually nothing. He’s been denied that chance. The lad is a footballer: all he wants to do is play – and play for Hearts.”

Skacel trained with Hearts yesterday and has shown no desire to play for any other club at present. As a free agent, he will still be able to re-sign for a third spell at Tynecastle if and when the club come out of administration.

Meanwhile, Paul McCallum, whose arrival on loan from West Ham was sanctioned by the SPFL, hopes to play a part in his club’s bid to reach the League Cup final for the second year running when they take on Inverness Caledonian Thistle in tomorrow’s semi at Easter Road. The striker, who was allowed to sign in place of Swansea recruit Adam King, knows his task will be simple: to score as many goals as possible for a team that has gone through the season without a recognised target man.

“Hopefully I can come in and be a part of a winning team on Sunday,” the 20-year-old Londoner said.

“I’m here to score goals: that’s my job. If I’m involved on Sunday, whether that’s starting or coming off the bench, I just want to score. I’m hungry to score goals.”

Last year, another English striker, Michael Ngoo, made a scoring debut in the semi, also against Inverness, which Hearts won on penalties. Asked if he hoped to emulate the Liverpool player, McCallum said the aim was to do better.

“I would hope to get a hat-trick and not have it go to extra time and penalties,” he said. “Hopefully we can do it in 90 minutes.”