Raith Rovers boss John Hughes hails Hearts legend Rudi Skacel as an inspiration as a player – and a coach

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BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport

RAITH ROVERS boss John Hughes insists Rudi Skacel has been an unsung hero in the Fifers’ battle against the drop after hailing the veteran’s influence as a player and a coach.

The 37-year-old has endured a somewhat underwhelming campaign since arriving at Stark’s Park under Gary Locke last summer, failing to find the net and providing three assists.

Nevertheless, Hearts legend Skacel has been a surprise starter in Rovers’ last two outings against Dunfermline and Morton, and completed his first full 90 minutes since September on Saturday, helping them to a crucial 2-0 win over the Ton.

And Hughes reserved special praise for the two-time Scottish Cup winner, insisting he has emerged as a dressing room leader, on and off the pitch.

‘Yogi’ said: “Rudi Skacel is 37, but he has real quality. He sees things and makes passes where you think ‘don’t break your stride, because he can find you.’ Rudi has done really well over the last three weeks.

“Just that experience he brings – the dos and the donts of football – is vital. He has been important as a coach, as well. He is a lovely, lovely boy. I can see why the Hearts fans have took to him and hold him in such high regard – I have as well!

“He is a great trainer, a great worker and knows the game.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with him and I’m delighted he got 90 minutes on Saturday. We were worried about that, we know his age, but he bosses people about – in the right way, not shouting and balling – and he was invaluable throughout the win at the weekend.”

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