Rudi Skacel is something of a Hearts legend. After two spells with the club (one on loan and one permanently) he won two Scottish Cups. As with many cult heroes, however, his standing has actually increased since he left Hearts this summer.
Joining Dundee United, Skacel was allowed to choose his own squad number. The Czech midfielder opted for number 51, a reference to Hearts’ 5-1 victory over Edinburgh rivals Hibernian in the cup final last season.
Hibs are said to be furious that Skacel was allowed to choose the number, and Peter Houston, the Dundee United manager, has also responded:
“It’s not my style to upset people. I said there were a few numbers available and he asked for 51.
“Call me naive but Gary Hooper wears 88 and Victor Wanyama wears 67 and I never thought of 51 being 5-1. Trust me when I say that.
“It’s registered straight away and, once you register it, you can’t go back on it. I apologise to the Hibs fans. If I’d known, I wouldn’t have given him the number. I’m not in the habit of trying to wind people up or noise other clubs up. Hibs are a fantastic club.”
You have to admit, it’s a lovely dig.