Dundee boss Paul Hartley has admitted he was taken aback when he heard Paul McGowan had been released by St Mirren then he quickly picked up his phone to convince the player to come to Dens.
The former Buddies midfielder signed a two-year deal with the Dark Blues last Friday and his new manager could not hide his delight at capturing a player he knows well and rates highly.
Hartley said: “I was surprised when he (McGowan) got released by St Mirren. As soon as he was let go, I was on the phone straight away.
“He was quite hard to get a hold of but we persevered and got him. It was a real surprise him getting released because he has had a fantastic couple of seasons at St Mirren.
“There was a lot of interest in him, so we’re delighted to get him. He can play anywhere across the front. He’s got good ability and is a positive player.
“I’m sure the fans will take to him. He will try to entertain. If you look at his performances over the past two seasons, he was possibly St Mirren’s best player.
“I know his personality from our time at Celtic. He’s the type of player I want at the club.
“I want us to be an entertaining team this year, that’s for sure. And having as many good footballers like Paul can only help us.”
At the same time as McGowan signed, another player was putting pen to paper on a two-year deal at Dens former Dumbarton full-back Paul McGinn.
The 23-year-old earned rave reviews for the Sons last season and Hartley insisted he is not just at the club to make up the numbers and will be pushing present right-back incumbent Gary Irvine for the first-team jersey.
The manager said: “Paul McGinn is an attacking full-back. He gives us another option. We’re trying to get competition in all areas of the park.
“I think all players are pushing for places. There are places up for grabs. We will try to get the best possible team out for the first day of the season.”
McGinn and McGowan brought Hartley’s summer signings total so far to eight and he revealed that he would like up to another three more as Dundee prepare for life in the Premiership.
Hartley said: “We’re actively looking for more players. We’re still a wee bit short in certain areas of the park.
“We don’t want to be thin on the ground. That’s what happened when we were parachuted into the SPL the last time.
“This time, the preparation has been much better and we’re happy with what we’ve got so far. We have a few irons in the fire so we’ll see what happens. It’s fair to say centre-half is a priority.
“We’re also looking for someone to play up top and maybe wide left.”
Dundee also hope to tie up midfielder Kevin McBride on a new deal this week.