FORMER St Mirren keeper Vaclav Hladky has revealed how close he came to signing for Steven Gerrard and Rangers in the summer.
The Czech netminder was a free agent after quitting the Paisley club at the end of his contract and that sparked interest from the Ibrox boss.
Hladky, who spent 18 months at the Buddies, had impressed Gerrard in his performances against Gers and came onto his radar when Wes Fotheringham and Jak Alnwick – coincidentally now at Saints – were poised to leave the Govan club at the completion of their deals.
Scotland international Jon McLaughlin, the ex-Hearts shotstopper, was also up for grabs after leaving Sunderland and it was a straight choice between the pair to see who would join Allan McGregor in the fight for the gloves at Ibrox.
Hladky, now at Salford City, speaking to the Glasgow Times, said: “There were many opportunities abroad as well, some big clubs were interested. For us, it was about trying to pick the right option and we spoke a lot about it, so we decided to stay in Britain.
“Rangers tried to get some information, but they decided on another goalie. It was between myself and him, maybe one more. It was unlucky for me, but football is like that. You need luck as well as good performances so when Rangers picked another goalkeeper I had to move on to try and get another opportunity.
“It was nice because it proves your worth. I’m always happy when someone is interested in me, especially these great and big clubs. But it is what it is, maybe in future you never say never.”
Celtic were also interested in Hladky as they looked to strengthen their No.1 position when it looked as though Fraser Forster would remain at Southampton after last season’s loan and Craig Gordon had left at the end of his contract to rejoin Hearts.
The keeper, though, insisted the champions never put a concrete offer to his representatives, despite doing a background check on him.
He added: “I know Celtic spoke with St Mirren and they were interested in my personality and my professionalism. But I don’t think Celtic ever officially contacted my agent.”