The Marius Zaliukas and Csaba Laszlo incident Ryan McGowan feared would end his Hearts career
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Former Hearts ace Ryan McGowan has revealed that he feared for his Tynecastle future after shouting at Marius Zaliukas.
The incident happened when the Australian were training with the first-team when Csaba Laszlo was manager.
A comment to the Lithuanian defender during a game when their team was “getting spanked” was met with irritation by both Zaliukas and Laszlo.
Shortly after the incident, McGowan found himself out on loan and concerned his time could be coming to an end at Hearts.
“I didn’t get on particularly well with Csaba Laszlo,” he told Hearts podcast Scarves Around the Funnel. “Darren Murray was our 19s coach and he used to be like ‘every day is your last day’. Some of our 19s training sessions were the best training sessions I’ve been involved in.
“We used to play all types of games. Foreigners against Scots, Glasgow v Edinburgh, just to get training as game related as possible so we used to be flying around right, left and centre.
“We played young v old under Csaba. I was obviously on the young team and we were getting spanked. Zaliukas was on the young team and he couldn’t really be arsed. It was six v six and I shouted at Marius being like ‘come on, you need to pick up’ nothing out of the ordinary. Marius had a little nibble back ‘who are you talking, I’m a first team player’.
“I wasn’t interested in that, I wasn’t shouting to make an example. We had a little bit of a tiff but I didn’t think anything of it. Then Csaba had a bit of a go at me afterwards, similar to Marius, being like ‘you can’t shout at senior players’.
“I can remember Robbie Neilson being like ‘forget about that, that’s good, that’s what you need to do. On a Saturday if you are in the starting XI we need you to be like that’.
“Robbie came to me the next day and said ‘keep your head down’. I was coming to the end of my contract and he was like ‘we don’t want him training with us any more because he was shouting at the older players’.
“Two weeks later I went to Ayr United on loan and remember thinking ‘aw Jesus, I could be out of this club’ because I shouted at Zaliukas to pick up his runner.”
McGowan would, of course, out last Laszlo and go on to score in the 2012 Scottish Cup win over Hibs with Zaliukas lifting the trophy as captain.
He credits Jim Jefferies, who took over from Laszlo in January 2010 for giving him the belief which he may have lost under the previous boss.
“Jefferies had heard that story and he had picked up in training that I trained differently to what I played,” McGowan said.
“He pulled me into his office one day and asked me to tell him the story about when I shouted at Marius.
“So I told him and he was like ‘I will never shout at you for shouting at other players to do better. We want that for you in training. We’ve wanted you to come out of your shell.’”