Former Hearts defender Ryan McGowan is included in a 27-man Australia squad heading to Brazil for this summer’s World Cup.
Coach Ange Postecoglou will trim that group by four before the tournament starts but McGowan has a strong chance of being involved in the finals.
Curtis Good, Josh Brillante and Adam Sarota have been left out from the original 30-man squad which Postecoglou gathered for two weeks’ intense training in Gosford and Sydney. McGowan, 24, will now hope to stay involved when the Greek decides on his final 23-man pool for the World Cup.
“We now leave for Brazil with 27 players and I’m looking forward to seeing the same levels of enthusiasm and buy-in to the hard work we have in front of us to ensure we continue to improve and embrace the football I want us to play,” said Postecoglou.
“These 27 young Australians now have a great opportunity to gain one of the 23 places in the final squad and they will all push each other to lift the team.”
Meanwhile, another former Hearts player, Marian Kello, is staying with St Mirren after signing a new one-year contract. The Slovakian goalkeeper had been touted for a possible return to Tynecastle next season, with Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson and director of football Craig Levein looking for a new No 1.
However, he has put paid to any further speculation about his future by signing a new deal in Paisley.
A statement on the St Mirren website read: “Goalkeeper Marian Kello has signed a one-year contract extension with St Mirren. Marian signed with Saints last October and went on to make 24 appearances in between the sticks, recording six shut-outs in the process.”