Raith Rovers manager Gary Locke claims Rudi Skacel is as big a Hearts icon as the club’s all-time leading league goalscorer John Robertson.
The Czech Republic internationalist will be reacquainted with the Hearts fans tomorrow when the sides lock horns in the fourth round of the William Hill Scottish Cup.
Robertson’s place among the pantheon of the club’s greats was secured on the back of notching an unrivalled 214 league goals in his 17 years associated with the Tynecastle outfit.
After scoring in each of the 2006 and 2012 Scottish Cup triumphs over Gretna and Hibs, and netting a total of 48 goals, Skacel is worshipped by the club’s fans and Locke, pictured, insists the player is just as popular as former team-mate Robertson.
Former Hearts manager Locke said: “Rudi is a huge favourite at Hearts and probably as big an icon as John Robertson is, and it’s very rarely that you can say that about a player.
“There won’t be too many players that have scored in two cup finals for Hearts.
“But Rudi will be the same with me, our only focus is Raith Rovers and he’s here to do a job.
“He’s still fit, he’s done reasonably well in the games he’s played and he’s a huge asset in terms of the younger players here. They can look at the career he’s had and learn from him. If he plays I’m hopeful he can cause Hearts problems.”
The odds are stacked against Raith progressing in the cup but Locke insists the money-spinning tie will be a welcome boost off the pitch.
Over 4,000 Hearts fans will make the journey across the Forth, with a crowd in excess of 6,000 expected at Stark’s Park. He added: “I don’t have a bolt to bring in any new players but even with getting Hearts in the cup, that’s been a godsend for us because we went two months without having a home game.
“When you’re not playing at three o’clock on a Saturday the crowds are affected and we didn’t have any money coming in. Getting Hearts in the cup has pulled us out of a hole.”