ST MIRREN goalkeeping coach Jamie Langfield believes Vaclav Hladky could be the difference between the club staying up and being relegated this season.

The Czech was a virtual unknown when he signed for the Paisley side in January but has already become a fans’ favourite after making a string of important stops, including a spectacular quadruple save against Hearts last weekend.

Ahead of Saints’ home match with Livingston this afternoon, Langfield believes the saves Hladky is making could prove as crucial as goals at the other end.

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The former Aberdeen No.1 said: “We told Vaclav when he came in that he would need to make big saves for us as we’re in a situation where we probably concede too many attacks.

“And he’s done that right away. I know from experience that strikers tend to get all the glory but, with the saves Vaclav is making, it could be him that ends up keeping us up this season. In tight games that could be the big difference between a win or a draw, or a draw and a defeat.

“He’s endeared himself to the fans who have taken to him really quickly and already become a bit of a cult hero.”