Dundee boss Paul Hartley says the club will stand by midfielder Paul McGowan whatever happens at his sentencing for assaulting a police officer next month.
McGowan (27) is facing the prospect of a prison sentence after admitting behaving in a threatening manner and assaulting PC Jamie White at a house in his home town of Airdrie in the early hours of November 23, 2014.
However, his manager showed faith in the player on Saturday by selecting him in his starting line-up for the 1-1 draw with Aberdeen and insists McGowan has shown remorse following his third conviction for police assault.
“I sense regret from Paul, he’s had a fright,” Hartley commented.
“He’s an age where he needs to grow up and he knows that.
“We will stand by him 100%.
“That (jail) is the worst case scenario for us, we’re hoping it won’t be.
“You can’t control them all the time, all you can do is try to tell them how to live their life and do things right.
“He knows he’s working with a manager who loves him to bits and we’ll try to help him as much as we can.
“He’s loved by everyone here. He’s not the only person who has done things away from the football pitch.
“But there has come a time where he needs to grow up because you don’t get many chances.
“But I’ll back him 100%.”
McGowan returned to Dundee’s first team just 48 hours after appearing at Airdrie Sheriff Court to plead guilty to his charge, and he is due to be sentenced next month.
Despite the off-field problems though, Hartley says he had no qualms about pitching the midfielder into battle on the pitch at the weekend.
“Paul is one of my best players so I was always going to pick him,” he explained.
“Sometimes you can’t control what happens off the field.
“Having worked with Paul, he’s one of the first names on the team sheet.
“He’s great to work with and people don’t know his true character, he’s not a bad lad.
“We have been working with him and he’s been different class on the park.
“His release is playing football, the lads love him and I love him.
“He’s committed 100% in training every day, he’s an infectious character and a lad you can’t not like.”