Aaron McGowan: Kilmarnock recruit on fresh start & house-hunting woes

By Martin WattBBC Scotland
Captaining the team to victory at Ibrox last season was a highlight of Aaron McGowan's Hamilton spell
Captaining the team to victory at Ibrox last season was a highlight of Aaron McGowan's Hamilton spell

Aaron McGowan walked away from Hamilton Academical because he felt undervalued. His first two weeks at Kilmarnock have convinced him it was the right decision.

The full-back unexpectedly got a new team and a landlord rolled into one when he swapped Lanarkshire for Ayrshire.

Now all he needs is a home of his own to avoid feeling like a "burden" as he bids to repay the club as part of a squad who have welcomed him with open arms.

With the coronavirus lockdown having scuppered his house-hunting plans, McGowan has been put up by Kilmarnock in a hotel but he's counting down the days until checkout time.

"It's been an absolute nightmare," the 23-year-old told BBC Scotland. "Due to the current situation, there's not a lot of properties becoming available.

"The club have been great. I can't thank them enough for going out of their way to put me up. It shows that they care but I don't want to be a burden."

Liverpudlian McGowan admits he took a risk in turning down a new contract at Hamilton this summer.

After 67 appearances across the last two seasons, helping the club stay in the Scottish Premiership, and captaining Brian Rice's side to a euphoric win over Rangers at Ibrox, he believes the fresh terms on offer showed no great desire to keep him.

"I didn't feel I got rewarded for what I've done for the past two years," he said. "It seemed to me that it was time to move on, from their side as well.

"I did feel at bit unhappy with some of the comments from Hamilton, that I was adamant about moving back down south. That's not a true reflection. I was more than happy to stay in Scotland.

"I had a lot of offers from England, so it was stupid to say that because I'm sitting here now having signed for Kilmarnock."

McGowan is now relishing the chance to make his mark in the right-back slot vacated by Scotland international Stephen O'Donnell.

Having only know relegation struggles with Hamilton, he has loftier ambitions for his new team.

"I spoke to the manager [Alex Dyer] and [director of football] James Fowler and they made it really clear that I was the club's priority of the summer. When you feel wanted it can be a special thing.

"This season's first priority is safety, but it's only a year ago that Kilmarnock finished third and I want to get the club back to those heights."

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