Ryan McGowan inches closer to Socceroo debut against Scotland
Ryan McGowan isn’t used to feeling much love at Easter Road. And the young Australian defender expects an equally-hostile reception if he makes his international debut against Scotland in Wednesday night’s friendly in Edinburgh.
RYAN McGOWAN isn’t used to feeling much love at Easter Road.
And the young Australian defender expects an equally-hostile reception if he makes his international debut against Scotland in Wednesday night’s friendly in Edinburgh.
McGowan plays for Hearts in the Scottish Premier League with Easter Road being the home ground of his club’s bitter cross-town rivals, Hibernian.
“Every time I have gone there, I have not been well liked or well supported, so it is not going to be any different on Wednesday night,” he said.
“But it is something I am really looking forward to.”
Not that he holds bad memories of the ground – it was the scene of his first senior goal.
With Luke Wilkshire tending to play higher up the park for the national team these days and Jade North sidelined, only Rhys Williams seemingly stands between McGowan and a start on his 23rd birthday.
McGowan enjoyed a breakthrough season for Hearts in their last campaign, playing a key role with his relentless running in the club’s 5-1 drubbing of Hibs in the Scottish FA Cup final.
The Australian under-23s player is also keen to kill off any lingering questions about his national allegiance.
McGowan’s parents are Scottish and the vast majority of his relatives still live there.
The Scottish press have been keen to talk up his roots and Scotland coach Craig Levein has said he had been on his radar.
“It is funny in football how things turn out,” McGowan said.
“There was a bit of chat about Scotland being interested in me.
“I have always said that Australia was my choice. That is where I was born and have grown up and played all my junior football.”
World No.46 Scotland were pumped 5-1 by the USA in Florida in May while 24th-ranked Australia had a 1-1 draw with Japan in Brisbane in their most recent start.
The Socceroos have not played Scotland since 2000 when Australia notched up a 2-0 win in Glasgow.
Australia will be without Harry Kewell and Tim Cahill, with the ex-Melbourne Victory player searching for a club in England and the former Everton man adjusting to life in the USA.
The Socceroos will warm up for next month’s World Cup qualifier in Jordan on 11 September with a friendly against Lebanon in Beirut five days earlier. – AAP