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SPL: Hearts 3 St Mirren 0

Oct 25 2010 Anthony Haggerty

RUDI Skacel bagged a super treble to sink sorry St Mirren - then warned Craig Levein he's hellbent on wrecking Scotland's Euro 2012 qualification hopes.

The Hearts midfielder set his sights on winning a dramatic recall to Michal Bilek's Czech Republic squad for their showdown with the Scots at Hampden next September.

Having scored at the national stadium for Hearts when they won the Scottish Cup in 2006, Skacel admitted he is desperate to boost his Hampden record.

Jambos fans' favourite Skacel was in electric form and his stunning hat-trick against the Saints even included his first-ever goal at the Gorgie end.

And the playmaker revealed he turned down an offer from Greece in the hope his love affair with Hearts would blossom the second time around and help him regain his international status.

Skacel said: "If I play well for Hearts hopefully that will help me get back into the Czech Republic national team because I was in the squad in the spring.

"This is a big time for the country and hopefully I can catch the manager's eye. I'm desperate to play for them again.

"I played for the national team not so long ago and went up against Scotland at Hampden in the friendly. But my target, my dream, is to have a chance of being back there to play in the Euro qualifier against the Scots.

"My hope is that we make it to Poland and Ukraine in two years and Scotland are behind us.

"That was part of my thinking when I came back here.

"It worked well for me last year, when I moved during the season to Slavia Prague and had some good games. I also scored a hat-trick against Brno and got back into the national team.

"This summer there was an opportunity to join a Greek side.

"But here I felt I could play good football, which would help me get back into the national team.

"And the fact Scotland are in the same qualifying group was another reason to come back.

"I remember my goals in the semi-final and final of the 2006 Scottish Cup at Hampden.

"Unfortunately I didn't score when the Czech Republic lost the last time against Scotland.

"Maybe this time.

"But the most important thing is that the country goes on to reach the finals of the European Championships.

"I want to be part of that and if it's at the expense of Scotland then I can only say sorry."

It all started so well for the Gorgie men on Saturday as they raced in front after just 72 seconds.

Suso Santana turned Saints full-back Juve Travener inside out on the touchline and fed hitman Kevin Kyle. He shunted the ball to Skacel who unleashed a left-foot thunderbolt that screamed into the bottom corner from 25 yards.

The Jambos doubled their advantage midway through the half after John Potter had impeded Calum Elliot 25 yards from goal.

Skacel stepped up and curled a free-kick with that left foot again high over the wall and into the top right-hand corner.

St Mirren were in freefall and even at 2-0 and looked game over for Danny Lennon's men.

The woeful Buddies huffed and puffed away after the break but never looked like scoring.

And Skacel heaped more misery on them when he drove through the Saints defence and buried a right-foot effort to complete an outstanding hat-trick.

However, Skacel insists it would be wrong to compare Jim Jefferies' current side to George Burley's class of 2005/06 who won their first eight league games before going on to clinch the Scottish Cup under Valdas Ivanauskas.

Skacel said: "I don't want to compare this team to the one I played in when I was in Scotland the first time because we have a young team.

"Hearts have a great stadium with fantastic supporters so we have to use that to our advantage in starting games brightly.

"You saw that was our tactic against St Mirren.

"If I remember correctly we always liked to start like this because it's a good crowd who can get at the opposition before they warm up.

"I've said many times you just can't compare the two teams between then and now because it was so many years ago.

"If this young team continues to improve, hopefully one day we can be that strong again and attack the top four."

Skacel could barely conceal his delight after netting his first ever treble for the Edinburgh outfit. He said: "I just want to help the team by creating and scoring goals.

"As for the league, reaching the top four is our target.

"It wasn't easy for me to jump into the season here but hopefully the hat-trick helps my confidence.

"I'm only a little bit older this time around so I wasn't scared that I'd spoil my name by coming back to Scotland.

"I have never lost confidence having played for the national team, so I knew I could play good football here.

"Hopefully I'll help the team and they'll help me.

"My only other hat-trick came for Slavia Prague against Brno but today's three were special because, at last, I scored at the Gorgie end.

"I don't think I've ever scored an earlier goal in a match.

"My memory is not as good as it was before because I'm getting on a bit now.

"I don't feel old, I just am. But I'm not too old that I can't go out for dinner after a game on a Saturday night.

"Sometimes we go out and celebrate if we win but most times I just settle down with my flip-flops on and watch TV."

One man who was quids in with Skacel's treble was Hearts stadium announcer Scott Wilson who declared to everyone that he was on the Czech midfielder to score first and the Jambos to win 3-0. On that form he'd give our man Mr Fixit a run for his money.

By the way, Scott, the Czech ace was happy for you but says you now owe him a slap-up meal.

Skacel laughed: "I wasn't aware of his prediction until after the game. Congratulations to him. Maybe he'll take me out for dinner."

As for St Mirren, on the basis of this inept display the only thing that will save the Paisley men from the drop is league reconstruction.

Strap yourselves in for a long campaign, Buddies fans, and pray the SPL decides to alter the rules as they go along.

Well they do have previous on such matters.

Taken from the Daily Record

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