Dundee midfielder avoids jail after spitting on nightclub bouncer

Dundee's Paul McGowan has previous assault convictions.
Dundee's Paul McGowan has previous assault convictions.
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A footballer who spat on a bouncer outside a nightclub has avoided a prison sentence by a “narrow margin”.

Dundee FC’s Paul McGowan admitted assaulting Andrew MacLaughlan after being escorted from a nightclub in the city’s South Tay Street at about 1:45am on Monday, 14 May.

At Dundee Sheriff Court yesterday he was ordered to pay his victim compensation and be fitted with a tag while under curfew.

The court heard the 30-year-old midfielder had been punched on the head by a man and was aiming for his alleged attacker when he spat, although the procurator fiscal could not confirm this version of events.

The incident was said to have been after an awards ceremony at a hotel in the city, which was followed by further drinking in the nightclub with teammates.

The footballer’s lawyer Elaine Rae said his actions were caused by drinking too much alcohol, but that he apologised for his actions and was embarrassed by them.

McGowan, who has previous assault convictions, turned up late to his hearing, with his lawyer saying he thought it started later.

Sheriff John Rafferty said: “I find that a difficult mistake to understand.

“You have been before the criminal courts on a number of occasions since 2010, some have been on crimes of violence.”

He added a jail sentence had been avoided by a “narrow margin” and ordered him to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work within nine months and pay £200 compensation to his victim within a month.

McGowan, who lives in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, was also told he must be fitted with a tag and restricted from leaving his home between 7pm and 7am on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for two months.

In a statement the club said: “Dundee FC can confirm Paul McGowan has been handed a limited Liberty Restriction Order and a Community Payback Order in court this morning.

“We will support Paul through this process.”