Paul McGowan ‘not thinking about jail for assault’

Paul McGowan in action for St Mirren. He admitted attacking two police officers, and faces a possible jail term. Picture: SNS
Paul McGowan in action for St Mirren. He admitted attacking two police officers, and faces a possible jail term. Picture: SNS
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ST MIRREN midfielder Paul McGowan has insisted his mind remains at ease despite the possibility of a jail sentence hanging over him.

The 26-year-old will be sentenced at Airdrie Sheriff Court next month after he pleaded guilty to attacking two police officers.

McGowan appeared at a hearing on 16 December to admit kicking police constable Edward Gilmartin on the body and repeatedly kicking Sergeant Tony Fitzpatrick on the body during an incident in his home town of Airdrie and then later at Coatbridge police office on 11 August. He will discover his fate when he returns to court on 8 January, but the former Celtic player insists he does not fear a severe punishment.

“It’s been a difficult few weeks for me,” admitted McGowan as he prepared to usher in New Year ahead of his side’s trip to face Kilmarnock tomorrow. “But the club have helped me and it will all get sorted soon. But my mind is at ease a wee bit and, hopefully, it will go all right.

“Coming into training has been a release for me. Apart from football, I’ve got nothing on my mind when I’m here. It’s weird, I just don’t worry about anything when I am playing football.

“More will come out in a couple of weeks, but I can’t really say more at this stage – I’m not allowed to. But I’m not too worried. I sort of know what will happen so I’m not stressing out too much.”

Privately, St Mirren must be deeply concerned that they face losing the services of such an influential player as McGowan, while the club suffered another blow this week when captain Jim Goodwin was banned for two matches by Scottish Football Association compliance officer Vincent Lunny for an off-the-ball forearm smash on Dundee United’s Stuart Armstrong.

However, there was some good news for the Paisley club to finish 2013 as they confirmed that goalkeeper Marian Kello has extended his stay with the club until the end of the season.

The former Hearts goalkeeper was snapped up at the tail end of October after regular No1 Christopher Dilo was ruled out with injury. But the talented 31-year-old Slovakian has impressed manager Danny Lennon so much in the 11 games since then that he has now been declared Saints’ first-choice keeper and rewarded with a new six-month deal.

Lennon told “Marian is exactly the type of player we want at our football club. He has great ability, is a tremendous character and he has brought a great presence and confidence to the group.

“Without doubt he is an outstanding professional with a great work ethic and he has a real desire to see the club progress.

“Marian is also a great role model for our younger ’keepers Christopher Dilo and Kieran Hughes as they look up to him for the standard that is required. I think it is fair to say that Marian has been a big part of the turnaround.”

Lennon has also announced that loan signings David Cornell (Swansea), Stephane Bahoken (Nice) and Jake Caprice (Blackpool) will be returning to their parent clubs after failing to make an impact in Paisley.