JOHN McGLYNN today urged Hearts officials to agree a new contract with Ryan McGowan as soon as possible because he sees the Australian as a potential future club captain. After watching McGowan reject Rangers’ advances on transfer deadline day, McGlynn believes Hearts must move quickly to extend the defender’s deal.
Hearts were willing to accept an offer from Rangers which would have taken McGowan to Ibrox along with team-mate David Templeton on Friday night. However, McGowan refused the move after speaking with the Rangers manager, Ally McCoist, and decided his immediate future lay at Tynecastle.
His current contract expires at the end of the season, meaning he can sign a pre-contract agreement with another club in January. McGlynn is desperate to avoid that scenario because he feels McGowan possesses all the attributes to one day captain Hearts.
“With regards to his character, how he trains and how he plays, he’s a winner and he’s got leadership qualities. In time, possibly he could be a future captain here,” said McGlynn, speaking exclusively to the Evening News. “I think what has to happen, hopefully in the near future, is for the football club to agree terms with Ryan on a new contract. Then he can commit his longer-term future to the club.
“Marius is the captain right now and he’s just lifted the Scottish Cup. We also have a really good second-in- command in Andy Webster, so we don’t have any shortage of candidates for the captaincy.”
Hearts have a few first-team players away on international duty this week, with McGowan the furthest travelled. He is presently in the Middle East with the Australian national squad, where they play a friendly
in Lebanon on Thursday before Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier in Jordan.
Marius Zaliukas and Arvydas Novikovas are with Lithuania for their qualifiers against Slovakia and Greece. “We just have to live with it and deal with it,” added McGlynn. “Most teams playing at the highest level have players on international duty. It’s part and parcel of being a manager at this level. All I can do is keep the players here ticking over and make sure they are ready for the St Mirren game.
“We will keep an eye on the international guys and the games they’re playing in. We’re obviously happier about Andy Webster, who is playing two games in Scotland and doesn’t have to travel. Arvydas and Marius are on their travels too, although not as much as Ryan. We’ll just hope they get through the games as well as they can then we’ll assess their energy levels when they get back.”
Meanwhile, Hearts have been drawn to play Livingston at Tynecastle in the third round of the Scottish Communities League Cup. The tie will take place on Tuesday September 25 or Wednesday September 26.