New Hearts goalkeeper wants to become fans favourite like fellow countryman Rudi Skacel


New Hearts goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal admits he is hoping to follow in the footsteps of fellow Czech Rudi Skacel by becoming a supporters’ favourite.

Zlamal has put pen to paper on a three-year contract with the Tynecastle outfit after leaving FC Zlin in his homeland.

The 32-year-old, who has also spent time at Italian sides Bari and Udinese and played in the Turkish top-flight with Alanyaspor during the 2016/17 campaign, has been recruited as the recognised number one, with Scotland squad keeper Jon McLaughlin expected to return south of the border.

The club’s fans have fond memories of free-scoring attacking midfielder Skacel at Tynecastle after the player won two Scottish Cups and netted 48 goals across two spells in Edinburgh.

Czech strikers Roman Bednar and Michal Pospisil also pulled on the maroon jersey during the Vladimir Romanov era and Zlamal is hoping he can make a similar impact.

He said: “I want to use my experience to help the team here and I feel I have a lot to give.

“I also know that there have been a few Czech players at Hearts in the past. For example, I know that Rudi Skacel is a Hearts legend.

“I also remember Roman Bednar and Michal Pospisil playing here so hopefully I can also be a success.

“It has long been my dream to play in British football and I am very excited to be joining Hearts.”

Zlamal, who featured in three Europa League Group F matches for Zlin last season, admits he is looking forward to playing in front of the Hearts supporters after being a member of the Sparta Prague travelling squad for a UEFA Cup tie against the Gorgie outfit in 2006.

The one-capped internationalist watched his employers overcome Hearts 2-0 in front of over 27,000 fans at Murrayfield.

He added: “I was very young back then so I didn’t play, but it was my first UEFA Cup experience and I remember it very well.

“I remember the Hearts fans and I kept thinking how great they were. I can’t explain how happy it makes me to have signed for this great club.”

Zlamal has become manager Craig Levein’s seventh summer signing following the arrivals of Steven MacLean, Uche Ikpeazu, Bobby Burns, Olly Lee, Jake Mulraney and Ben Garuccio.

Former Scotland boss Levein is still looking for another shot-stopper after back-up goalkeeper Jack Hamilton joined Dundee on a three-year deal on Monday.