I’d heard rumours from the forums that Rudi Skacel was coming to United weeks ago, so as time went on, I’d written this off as just speculation.
But this morning, my Twitter feed had several mentions of him again. I didn’t believe it when I first heard Nicky Weaver was Tannadice-bound, so I kept an open mind and an eye on the internet for further news.
Just before mid-day, the tweet I was so cynical about came through. It’s news that will hurt most Jambos as much as it will please Arabs. Then again, most of a tangerine persuasion don’t like seeing Andy Webster in maroon!
Skacel was treated like royalty at Tynecastle and rightly so, his impressive 12 goals last season helped them to a 5th place SPL finish and his two goals in the Scottish Cup Final will feature in Hearts highlight montages for the rest of their history.
It’s staggering that a prolific player of this class wasn’t signed until now but regardless, this is a fantastic move for both Skacel and United. Even though it’s a short-term deal until 31st January, don’t be surprised to see the contract extended.
Whilst no longer the European force we once were, one thing that’s remained consistent since 1909 is that United is a great club at which to play your football. He certainly won’t be unhappy at Tannadice, few players ever have been. Should United push up the table from their current false league position, Rudi may well find more reasons to continue for the Terrors than to look elsewhere.
After a dreadful run of results, a 1-1 draw at home against a strong Aberdeen last weekend has given a renewed sense of optimism to Arabs. Tomorrow we head to Paisley for what is a seriously important match if United are to use last weekend’s result as the start point for a decent run. St.Mirren are no mugs but no doubt they’d rather not face the possibility of Rudi Skacel aiming to make a headline debut after months away from the spotlight.
You wouldn’t have thought so of late, but United’s goal scoring threat from Daly, Russell, Rankin and Gardyne will be even more so with Skacel in the mix. Once wonder kid Gary Mackay-Steven is back, expect the Terrors to have put the recent slump behind them and step up for a credible challenge for second and decent cup runs. This is without even mentioning Sparta Prague loan striker Milos Lacny being fit again soon.
This time last year, Peter Houston’s jacket was on a shoogly peg, but sure enough he guided his charges to fourth. He’s again asked to be judged at the end of the season, and based on today’s signing, he means business.
Sometimes, all it takes is one player to fill that missing piece of the jigsaw. Barry Robson was a huge difference maker in Celtic’s successful SPL campaign of 2008/09. Could Skacel be the difference maker for United’s prospects? Absolutely.
Expect to hear The Specials being played a lot during goal celebrations over the Tannadice tannoy in the coming weeks.
Written by Graham Harrop