McGinn hoping McGowan doesn’t join St Mirren exodus

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St Mirren midfielder John McGinn would prefer Paul McGowan to stay in Paisley rather than make a bid for his position. But the 18-year-old thinks his big brother, Stephen, would be just the man to replace the talented playmaker if McGowan does move on.

Kilmarnock 1-3 St Mirren

Scorers: Kilmarnock - Boyd (25); St Mirren - McGinn (20), McGowan (pen 75), Newton (88)

Referee: W Collum

Attendance: 4,428

The former Celtic youth is out of contract and has been linked with a summer move to a number of npower Championship sides. But despite being the obvious heir to McGowan’s central midfield slot, Scotland Under-19 cap McGinn does not want to succeed him just yet.

He said: “All the boys are hoping Paul comes back next season. Although there is a lot of interest in him, he has not signed anything yet. Paul is some player. It’s not his slot I want to take, it’s the one next to him I’m after. He is so experienced and has played at the highest level with Celtic and it’s great to get the opportunity to learn from him. He does give me the odd rollocking every now and again but he’s a good role model for me.”

But, if McGowan does depart, McGinn hopes Buddies manager Danny Lennon snaps up his brother Stephen following his release by Watford. The 24-year-old made 74 appearances for Saints before winning a move to Vicarage Road in 2010, but has now been deemed surplus to requirements by Hornets manager Gianfranco Zola following his injury-plagued spell with the Championship outfit. McGinn junior said: “Watford didn’t offer Stephen a contract so he’s now a free agent. The guys who look after him are working hard to find him a new club but I’m sure he would be delighted to come back to St Mirren if the offer came.”

Saints mustered just their third away win of the season with Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park. But the match signalled the end of a number of players’ St Mirren careers, with loan trio Paul Dummett, Conor Newton – both sent north by Newcastle – and Rio Ave striker Esamel Goncalves set to return to their parent clubs, while Craig Samson has clinched a move to Killie and Sam Parkin has been told he is not getting a new deal.

Others such as Lee Mair, Dougie Imrie, Grant Adam, Graham Carey and Lewis Guy have also been told they can find new clubs while another of McGinn’s brothers, 22-year-old Paul, has been released without playing a game for the Buddies. John McGinn said: “It will be hard seeing so many of the lads moving on but that’s just part of football. Sammy (Samson) has been a massive influence on me and I just want to thank him for all he’s done for me. If I have had a bad game, he’s always on the phone offering me support. I wish him all the best at Kilmarnock.

“And it’s the same with the Newcastle boys and big Isma as well. I hope they go on to better things. My brother Paul was with us this season and unfortunately he will be leaving as well. I just hope he gets something sorted because he’s done really well on loan to Dumbarton.”