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Luke McCowan: Family ties and the personal touch from James McPake meant Dundee were the only club for Dens new boy

Luke McCowan at Dens Park.
Luke McCowan at Dens Park.

Family ties and a phonecall from James McPake meant Dundee were the only club for Luke McCowan this summer.

The attacking midfielder revealed there were other teams interested in his services following an impressive campaign at Ayr United last season.

The 23-year-old was the Honest Men’s Player of the Year after scoring nine goals in 33 matches last term.

He was also part of the Ayr side that took six points off the Dark Blues in the Championship.

And his form brought admiring glances from clubs in the top flight, including Dundee United.

Luke McCowan helped Ayr beat Dundee twice last season.

However, the personal touch from Dens boss McPake quickly convinced him there was nowhere else he wanted to play next season.

That and the prospect of disappointing his Dundee-supporting family members.

McCowan said: “There were other clubs interested but I just kept my eye on Dundee – the manager had phoned me.

“Everything went smooth and quick, that was a massive pull for me.

“I have family up here and they all told me how amazing the place was. My girlfriend’s auntie and uncle stay up here and they are Dundee fans – they might have had a wee word…

“Every time I came here with Ayr I loved the stadium and I’ve never had any negative things to say about this place.

“I just thought ‘go for it’ and they are right back in the Premiership, too.”

Asked about interest from Tannadice, McCowan replied: “I’m not sure how keen they were or weren’t but the Dundee manager phoned me and I was ready to go.

“Especially after watching the play-off games, I could see it was a team who pass the ball and I was going to enjoy it.

“I wanted to be part of that.”

Joining up with old team-mate

Moving to Dundee is also a chance to team up with good pal Declan McDaid, a former team-mate and travel buddy from Somerset Park.

McDaid was a key part of Ian McCall’s Ayr side before leaving for Dens Park last summer.

His departure saw McCowan step into the first team on a regular basis the following season as he established himself in the Championship.

Declan McDaid takes on Dunfermline’s Aaron Comrie.

Now they are together again and the new boy says his old pal played a big role in convincing him to make the move north.

“Yeah, me and Declan are close,” McCowan said.

“He stays right across the water from me in Dunoon. When we were at Ayr, we would travel every day together so we are close.

“He told me what a great club it is, everyone looks after you and he’s been telling me everything positive. That helped make the decision.

“We play in similar positions but we played together at Ayr and played well so hopefully we have more of that.”

Dundee derbies and more familiar faces

McCowan will also have a couple of former team-mates to face next season when the Dundee derbies come around again.

Dundee United stars Lawrence Shankland and Liam Smith were also team-mates of McCowan at Somerset Park.

He’s looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere of those crunch clashes next term – and adding a bit of friendly rivalry to the mix will only add to the enjoyment.

McCowan takes on former Ayr team-mate Liam Smith.

“I am close with those two but there weren’t any calls from them yet, I don’t think they would’ve known much about it,” McCowan added.

“I can’t wait to play them in derbies.

“Watching Dundee derbies on TV are always a joy to watch. Now I’ll be part of it, it sounds immense.

“It might make it better if we win knowing a couple of United players!

“I might be up against Liam. We’ve played each other before and it will be good to take him on.”

‘When he was fit and right, he was one hell of a player’: Dundee boss James McPake pays tribute to departing striker Osman Sow

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