Hearts have first refusal on Dylan McGowan for next season

HEARTS have first option to sign Dylan McGowan for next season due to a clause in the defender’s contract.

The Evening News can reveal that McGowan’s existing deal, which expires this summer, includes the option of a one-year extension at the club’s discretion.

The Australian signed a two-year contract in 2011, which granted Hearts the option to keep him for an extra year thereafter if they wished to. The club are in no hurry to make a decision as they have until the end of the current campaign to invoke the clause.

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McGowan, 21, is almost certain to be retained despite the drastic financial cuts taking place to ensure Hearts’ survival. Having only emerged from the club’s youth academy squad this season, he is not a high earner and has already indicated his promise with some impressive displays at senior level. Most recently, he deputised for Andy Webster in central defence and helped Hearts record a clean sheet against Hibs.

McGowan’s older brother, Ryan, has left Tynecastle to join the Chinese club Shandong Luneng Taishan, however the younger sibling is in no rush to follow suit. He recently told the Evening News that one of his main targets for the remainder of this season was to prove himself worthy of a new deal for next year.

Hearts initially signed McGowan from Adelaide club Para Hills Knights in 2008. After loan spells with East Fife and Australian club Gold Coast United, he made his first-team debut in August’s Europa League play-off tie with Liverpool at Anfield. He has made 11 senior appearances for Hearts and will continue to feature in the second half of the season.