Paul McGowan (born 7 October 1987) is a Scottish footballer who plays as a central midfielder for Dundee in the Scottish Premiership.
McGowan started his career with Scottish Premier League club Celtic, he made his debut in 2007. However, he failed to break into the first team and was sent out on loan several times. McGowan spent the 2006–07 season with Second Division side Morton, where he won the Second Division title and was also named SFL young player of the month for January 2007. McGowan then spent the second half of the 2008–09 season with Hamilton Academical in the SPL.
He moved on loan to another SPL side, St Mirren, for the 2010–11 season. After this Celtic released him from his contract and he signed with St Mirren permanently. In December 2011 he won the SPL player of the month award.
McGowan made his Celtic debut in the 5–0 win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle in September 2007, where he came on as a substitute. He scored his first senior goal for Celtic on 7 August 2008 in a pre-season friendly against Manchester City at Celtic Park. He had the chance to score his second senior goal to win the game for Celtic but his shot hit the crossbar and the game ended 1–1. McGowan made his Champions League debut against Villarreal on 10 December 2008, as a 75th-minute substitute for Aiden McGeady. Celtic won the match 2–0 but finished bottom of their group.
In the 2009–10 season, McGowan soon became part in the first team, under manager Tony Mowbray. On 17 December 2009, just over a year to the day of his European debut, McGowan made his Europa League debut in a 3–3 draw away to Rapid Vienna. He made an impact in the 91st minute by scoring his first competitive goal for the Hoops to complete a comeback from 3–0 down to draw 3–3. On 24 January 2010, McGowan made an impressive display when he provided double assist for Marc-Antoine Fortuné and Paddy McCourt, as Celtic made a comeback from 1–0 down to 4–1 up, against St Johnstone.
Towards the end of the 2009–10 season, on 29 April 2010, he signed a two-year contract with the club. Having signed a new deal, McGowan expected to make more appearance in the first team in near future.
McGowan was loaned out to Greenock Morton for the 2006–07 season. He played as a striker for Morton and scored a total of 16 goals in 44 competitive matches. During his loan spell at Morton, McGowan then won the Scottish Football League player of the month award for January 2007. He was the club's top scorer and received a League winners medal as Morton won the Scottish Second Division. He was chosen to the 'Team of the year' in the Second Division and 3rd place in the 'Player of the Year' award. Morton failed to land the player in the summer transfer window when their bid – approaching a six-figure sum – was rejected.
McGowan was loaned out to SPL side Hamilton Academical at the beginning of the January 2009 transfer window, and started his first game with an assist for Chris Swailes in the 1–0 win over Ross County in the Scottish Cup. His first goal for the club came on 21 February 2009, in a 2–1 win over Falkirk, scoring from 10 yards out. At the end of the 2008–09 season, McGowan loan spell with Celtic had come to an end.
In July 2010, McGowan was again sent out on loan, this time to St Mirren. He made his league debut for the club in the opening game of the 2010–11 season, a 1–1 draw against Dundee United on 14 August 2010. He scored his first competitive goal for St Mirren in a League Cup match against Ross County. Eventually, St Mirren would win in the penalty-shootout after a tie 2–2 in the regular time and kept 3–3 after extra-time. McGowan wasn't a good start when he received a straight red card for incident in off-the-ball at Killie's Manuel Pascali, which was spotted by the referee and then taunt the opposition fan. After the match, McGowan apologised for his action, while Lennon might consider fining him, once reviewing the video evidence. After missing one game, he made his return from suspension. On his return, on 25 September 2010, he scored his first goal, in a 2–1 loss against Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Following a 0–0 draw with Peterhead, which resulted going to replay in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup, McGowan scored his first hat-trick of his career, in a 6–1 win. After the match, McGowan says his hat-trick convinced the club's groundsman to get the match ball, while Lennon believes McGowan should learn from Lionel Messi and also describe him as a "threat", whose rise above the difficult treatment. Throughout the season, he played a total of 39 matches and scored 6 goals in all competitions for St Mirren. Danny Lennon converted McGowan from a striker to a central attacking midfielder with the role of playmaker during this period.
On 6 June 2011, McGowan signed a two-year deal with St Mirren, having had a successful loan spell. McGowan's first game, after signing for the club on a permanent basis, came on the opening game of the season, in a 0–0 draw against Dunfermline Athletic. In a 2–0 loss against his former club, on 28 August 2011, McGowan made a mistake when he capitalised on a misplaced pass, allowing Gary Hooper to score, but despite this, Lennon would praised him, while McGowan, himself, says he will take full responsibility for his performance. McGowan's first goal, after signing for the club on a permanent basis, came on 24 September 2011, when he scored a brace, in a 3–0 victory against Kilmarnock. His next brace was soon followed up, on 22 October 2011, in a 3–2 loss against Hibernian. In November 2011, McGowan attracted interest from English clubs, believed to be Crystal Palace and Wigan. He then won the Scottish Premier League player of the month award for December 2011. McGowan revealed he was surprised earning the Scottish Premier League player of the month award is the first Saints player to win the award since Andy Dorman in April 2009. McGowan gained plaudits for his ability to retain possession of the ball. Throughout the season, he played a total of 45 matches and scored 8 goals in all competitions for St Mirren.
After scoring his two goal of the 2012–13 season, one was in the first round of the Scottish League Cup, in a 5–1 win over Ayr United and provided assist during a match; and another in a 3–1 loss against Kilmarnock on 22 September 2012, McGowan suffered a shoulder injury early in the 2012–13 season that required surgery. While on the sideline, captain Jim Goodwin says the club miss McGowan and was the main player for the club. McGowan returned to the first team in mid-December and went on to score a penalty against Celtic in the Scottish League Cup semi-final. Ahead of the Scottish League Cup final, on 27 February 2013, McGowan scored and provided an assist for Graham Carey, who scored a wonder strike, in a 2–0 win. St Mirren qualified for the final with a sensational 3–2 win, booking a date with Hearts – scheduled to take place on St Patrick's Day 17 March 2013. Paul McGowan won man of the match in the buddies 3–2 victory over hearts in the league cup final on 17 March as the club ended its 26-year wait for silverware. After the match, told BBC Scotland that the match was unbelievable and very proud. A few week later after the final, McGowan scored a penalty, in a 1–1 draw against Celtic by scoring from a penalty. Towards the end of the 2012–13 season, McGowan says his future is uncertain, having attracted interests from English clubs, with one believed to be Birmingham City after Manager Lennon revealed he had yet sorted out his future at the club by signing a new deal. Eventually, on 3 June 2013, it was announced that McGowan had re-signed for St Mirren on a free transfer, just two days after his previous contract had expired. After signing a new contract, he explains his stay at St Mirren, citing family reasons.
In 2013–14 season, McGowan starts off his season when he struggled to score for the eight games, but scored his first goal of the season on 5 October 2013, in a 2–0 win over Hearts and scored another, as well as, making a double assist, in a 4–3 win over St Johnstone on 19 October 2013. In the match against Inverness CT, McGowan limped off where he sustained a broken toe and had to wore a protective mask in the match fourth round replay of the Scottish Cup against Queen of the South. Despite being disciplined, McGowan continuously be used by the club. He later added two more goal to his tally; one was against Dundee United on 15 March 2014 and second goal came was against Hibernian on 19 April 2014, to help the club secure their future in the Scottish Premiership. After the match, McGowan says he is happy to put the incident behind him by helping the club finish the season on high.
At the end of season 2013–14, St Mirren announced that McGowan would not be offered a new contract and was released.
McGowan signed a two-year contract with newly promoted side Dundee in June 2014. Upon joining Dundee, Manager Paul Hartley says he immediately signed him once he learned he was released by St Mirren.
McGowan made his Dundee debut, playing as a central-midfielder, as Dundee won 4–0 against Peterhead on 2 August 2014, in the Scottish League Cup and then made his league debut, as Dundee drew 1–1 with Kilmarnock on 9 August 2014. McGowan continued to be in the first team throughout the first half of the season until he suffered a knee injury that kept him sidelined for four weeks. McGowan then made his return to the first team, in the Dundee derby, which Dundee lose 6–2 to Dundee United. McGowan scored his first Dundee goal, in a 1–0 win over Partick Thistle on 14 February 2015. As a result of being placed on a curfew, McGowan cannot be included for matchday squad when it kicks off in the evening for the rest of the season, though he can play in the afternoon games. Despite being placed on a curfew, McGowan went on to make thirty-four appearance and scoring once in all competitions.
In December 2013, McGowan pleaded guilty for attacking two police officers that took place at Coatbridge police office on 11 August. On 8 January 2014, the judge ordered McGowan to do a 130 hours of unpaid work and a one-year supervision order.
Manager Danny Lennon believed McGowan was a lucky to avoid a jail sentence. McGowan was told by Sheriff Frank Pieri " that the punishment was a 'direct alternative' to custody and told him to behave in future or face prison". As a result of this incident, McGowan was disciplined by the club.
For the second time in 2014, McGowan was arrested after attacking a community support constable at Coatbridge Police station. McGowan was convicted of assault on 19 March 2015. On 15 April 2015, McGowan was spared jail sentence, but was placed restriction curfew for sixteen weeks and had to wear electronic tags. Following the incident, McGowan apologised for his actions and said he hoped to become a better person, having a problematic lifestyle of alcohol and gambling, while the club stood by him.
McGowan is a father of a son. In the wake of his conviction in April 2015, McGowan vowed to be a better father by putting his life on track for the sake of his son.
- As of 21 January 2017
|Greenock Morton (loan)||2006–07||36||11||3||1||4||1||1||1||44||14|
|Hamilton Academical (loan)||2008–09||1||1||2||0||0||0||0||0||16||1|
|St Mirren (loan)||2010–11||33||1||5||4||1||1||0||0||39||6|
- Greenock Morton
- Scottish Second Division: 2006–07
- St Mirren
- Scottish League Cup: 2012–13
- Renfrewshire Cup: 2010, 2011, 2012
- SFL Young Player of the Month: January 2007
- SPL Player of the Month: December 2011