HEARTS goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal managed to combine a great personal performance with the worst moment of his career.
Had the Czech not made many fine saves, this would have been a lot worse as the Celtic players eventually were lining up to score.
But, and this is a pretty big but, Zlamal made an awful error at the second goal when he allowed Ryan Christie’s tame shot to somehow slip out of his grasp.
Who indeed would be a goalie?
Zlamla, who fronted up which says a lot about him, said: “We are very very disappointed, we thought there was a chance we could be in the final. It was an unlucky game but we have to forget it because the next match is very important for everybody.
“Every game is penalty kicks. I don’t know if it was or not. It’s a lottery. And of course the second goal, Michael Smith touches it a little bit but it’s my mistake. I have to say sorry to all fans, to everybody because it was my goal.
“It was a big opportunity for us. We played in front of 60,000 fans. For me it was the biggest game in my career. I hope we forget about it as soon as possible. I hope we win on on Wednesday and it will be good.
“Mistakes belong to football so I tried to forget it early and catch everything after that. It was my goal, it wasn’t good but you have to forget and move on quick, keep going. Afterwards you can analyse it but it’s my mistake. I will repeat: I have to say sorry!
“After the penalty our performance was a little bit down. Then of course after the second Celtic dominated the game.”
Zlamal at least still enjoyed the support of his team-mates.
He said: “They said to me ‘No problem’. They are good lads. I’m very disappointed about second goal but it’s football.
Steven MacLean was caught on camera grabbing an area of Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard’s body where a gentleman does not like to be grabbed.
He said: “It was just a laugh. It was a wee wind-up. It’s fitba, eh. Jesus, if I went down every time a centre-half did that to me I’d be on my backside all day. It was a laugh, one of them, if you think about how many times a centre-half has a dunt on me, I’d be one my arse all game if reacted.
“No doubt they will be trying to play it up but it was nothing.”
Hearts have a derby on Wednesday and then go to Celtic on Saturday. There isn’t any time to feel sorry for themselves.
MacLean said: “I thought it was a good first-half for us but once they scored from the penalty the game changed. We lost our shape and probably got caught by us trying to have a go and they picked us off. It was disappointing but we now need to pick ourselves up.
“You know what, a lot of our boys have never played in a semi-final, in such a big game like that, so this was a good experience for them and they need to use this disappointment to get us back to another semi-final and a final.
“We have two big games, the derby then we go to Celtic, and this is why you want to be involved in. If you aren’t up for these kind of games you shouldn’t be playing.
“So, roll on Wednesday night. It’s a derby and let’s go and turn them over.”
Source : HeraldScotland