ASK a Scot to name a famous Slovakian and the likelihood is they will only know the answer because of sport, not least because the Slovaks recently drubbed our national side 3-0.

Lubomir Moravcik is undoubtedly the most famous Slovakian immigrant to Scotland, the midfielder performing wonders for Celtic during the Martin O’Neill years and achieving the remarkable feat of being voted Slovak Player of the Year in 2001 while playing in Glasgow.

Yet fans of ice hockey will tell you of another Slovak legend who came here in 2001 and made a huge impact during the 11 seasons he played for the Edinburgh Capitals, most of them as captain. He is Martin Cingel, who is now making a great impression as a coach with the side.

Ironically, given the EU Leave vote that could see his family repatriated in the event of a very hard Brexit, Cingel is currently with Team GB’s under-18 side in South Korea as assistant coach. They play their South Korean hosts later today.

At home in Edinburgh with their two Scottish-born sons, 11-year-old Matthew and soon-to-be eight-year-old Mark, Cingel’s wife Ivana says Brexit is a concern for herself and her family.


Ivana is a popular fitness instructor in Edinburgh and is looking forward to setting up her own business soon.

She said: “When we first came here 16 years ago, we had to get a Russian visa that lasted seven months.

“We loved Scotland from the moment our aeroplane landed.

“It was so green and the air was so fresh, very similar to Slovakia, though we have four proper seasons!

“We were very fortunate to meet lovely people who helped us from the start – there was a generation who stayed here after the war and formed a Czechoslovakian community that kept together after the split and still finances Czech and Slovak students to come here.

“We settled very quickly, and then when Slovakia joined the European Union things were transformed because until then there were very few people from Eastern Europe coming here. It also meant we could go back and forward without visas.

“My heart will always see Slovakia as home, but Edinburgh is home for my sons, though we spend six weeks of the summer in Slovakia and their grannies come here regularly – what will happen to all of that?

“It is a very strange feeling for us. We definitely did not want Brexit, because we have been there before – having to go to the Embassy to keep re-applying for visas. All the travelling will be much harder.

“Although Brexit is going to happen it is very important that deals can be done with the EU countries.

“Things have to be negotiated such as the economy and trade and travel and students being able to come here and go there to study. It is not very easy, I think.”

Martin and Ivana Cingel came here to earn a living and bring up their children who were both born in Livingston.

The very fact that these proud Slovakian Scots don’t fully know their future is enough to condemn Brexit alone.