Paul McGowan eager to rediscover love of the game after season from hell with Dundee

Paul McGowan.
Paul McGowan.

Paul McGowan is looking to rediscover his love of football this season after the campaign from hell at Dens Park last time around.

Today the Dark Blues kick off their pre-season campaign with a friendly against club legend Barry Smith’s Brechin City at Glebe Park.

And McGowan hopes the new era under James McPake can reignite things at Dens Park after a dreadful 2018/19 campaign ended with relegation from the Premiership.

He told the Tele: “It is a new start.

“Last year we need to wipe clean, it’s happened and we can’t take it away.

“A few of us have points to prove and so does the manager in his first job.

“It won’t be easy – if people think it will be they are wrong.

“Dundee United, Ayr, Inverness, Dunfermline will all be tough.

“I think with the players we are signing we are looking good so a few more of them and, hopefully, we can push on.

“I am excited ahead of the new season.

“I didn’t enjoy it last campaign. I wasn’t enjoying playing and that’s the first time in my career I didn’t enjoy playing football.

“I love football and have always enjoyed it win, lose or draw but last season never sat right with me.

“It is a big season coming up for a lot of us, for everyone in fact, because this club needs to get back up.

“I’m looking forward to it and, hopefully, we can do that.”

Read the Tele’s five-part special on Dundee and United’s Millennium Managers here.

McGowan is one of only eight players who have returned for pre-season after relegation last term.

He’s been getting to know the new faces in the squad with Shaun Byrne, Josh Todd, Declan McDaid, Jordan Marshall and Jordan McGhee impressing in their first few days on the training field.

McGowan added: “It’s been tough so far, we’re working hard but there’s a good feel about the place and the new signings have slotted in well so it’s been good.

“It’s a different environment to work in now, there’s a different team and different demands.

“It has been enjoyable, even though it is hard work. Once we get through these weeks the games will start and it will be worth it in the end.

“The new players have been looking good.

“I played against Josh Todd and Jordan Marshall last season and they did well for Queen of the South.

“They have all looked good and I think Shaun Byrne for Livingston last year did very well, I think that’s a good signing for us and it just shows the intent of the club.

“I think we need players like him in to push on and win this league because we know it’s going to be difficult with the other teams in it.

“We need a few more bodies in but things are starting to take shape.”

All of Dundee’s summer signings have experience of playing in the Championship and McGowan is keen to tap into that when the players head out to a training camp in Spain on Sunday.

“They all know that league better than me, I’ve never played in the Championship. It’s a game of football at the end of the day but they know what to expect and what the league is all about. It’s good to get guys in like that.

“For Spain, I like trips away, I think it’s good for the group to get away and bond together in an environment every day with each other. Especially with all the new boys coming in it’s good.”

He added: “It is exciting for the club at the moment, even after a horrible season last year. We just want to get off to a great start, begin winning games and enjoying football again.”