ST MIRREN manager Danny Lennon has vowed to help Paul McGowan return to the straight and narrow after the playmaker this week admitted attacking two police officers.
McGowan, 26, will be sentenced next month after he pleaded guilty to the double assault at Airdrie Sheriff Court on Monday.
Lennon confirmed Saints will discipline the player but the manager also promised to put an arm around the former Celtic youth’s shoulder and help him learn the error of his ways.
He said: “You’re not always just a coach to these guys, sometimes you are a father too. But it’s about how you come through the tough times and Paul truly regrets every mistake he has made.
“It’s getting dealt with [by the courts] and he goes back up in January. What will happen will happen. But until then we will do everything we can to help. It’s up to us to help guide him back onto the right track.”
McGowan admitted kicking police constable Edward Gilmartin on the body and repeatedly kicking sergeant Tony Fitzpatrick on the body during the incident in his home town of Airdrie and then later at Coatbridge police office on 11 August.
Sheriff Petra Collins deferred sentence on McGowan until 8 January for reports, while his bail was continued. But Lennon defended the player’s character as he vowed to continue naming the midfielder in his line-up.
“Paul is no problem for us,” he said. “Everyone makes mistakes throughout life and it’s about cashing in on the lessons they teach you.
“He’s not a bad lad. In fact he’s a lovable wee character. He just loves playing football. In fact he would kick a ball about 24 hours a day. Maybe that’s how we calm him down – just put a ball at his feet and let him run about all day.”
Motherwell are St Mirren’s opponents today, and manager Stuart McCall has revealed he is hopeful of extending the loan spells of both Viking Stavanger striker Henri Anier and Rotherham winger Lionel Ainsworth.
McCall will have talks with chief executive Leeann Dempster in the “next week or so” in a bid to ensure the pair extend their deals beyond the first half of January. “We’ll be in discussions about those two boys,” said McCall. “Both of their agents have [indicated they want to stay] and I’m sure they are enjoying themselves. We will have to have a look at a couple of things but all being okay it would be nice to get them signed up until the end of the season.”