Hearts V Inverness CT at Tynecastle Stadium : Match Preview

13 December 2013 06:31
Hearts V Inverness CT - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

McGowan counts his blessings

Dylan McGowan says he has no problem shaking off the nightmare displays which have dogged Hearts lately.

The Australian defender admits to feeling blessed that he is paid to play a game he loves while his dad Jamie works on a building site for a living.

And with that positive outlook, the 22-year-old insists he has already shaken off the misery of shipping seven goals to Celtic a fortnight ago and then another four away to Dundee United six days later.

McGowan, who followed brother Ryan - now with Chinese outfit Shandong Luneng Taishan - into the Jambos side, said: "Everyone has to remind themselves of how lucky we are to be doing this job. There are tons of people out there who would love to be a professional footballer, so that is how I look at it.

"I grew up with my dad working on a building site, so I'm certainly made aware of how lucky I am to have this job.

"We didn't come from the wealthiest of families growing up. We were told you have to work to make a living and you have to work hard. We knew if we were ever lucky enough to get a job we enjoy then we take it with both hands.

"My dad always tells Ryan and I that we are the two luckiest guys in the world because he is still working at his age. Hopefully we will be long retired by the time we get to that point.

"So, with that in mind, I have no problem remaining buoyant and I look forward to every game, as I will on Saturday."

The administration-hit Gorgie side are still to climb out of negative equity in the Scottish Premiership following the 15-point deduction dished out at the start of the season.

But a win against second-placed Inverness at home on Saturday will at least see the basement boys return to the black.

However, Hearts will have to turn around their recent stuttering form. Gary Locke's side made a flying start to the league campaign but have taken just five points from their last 11 games.

"Some of the younger boys might have thought this was easy after picking up seven points from four games early on but everyone reminded us that it would be a hard slog with spells where we don't add anything to the board," said McGowan.

"But now we're missing out on picking up results, even draws, week in, week out. If we can start doing that again I think we will catch somebody. It just has to happen sooner rather than later."

However, they will have their work cut out against Caley Thistle.

Forward Ryan Stevenson's hamstring tear means Locke - banned from signing new players and left to operate with a "paper-thin squad" - has just 12 senior outfielders to choose from and the Jambos boss will have to turn to his youth squad to fill his bench.

But McGowan is happy to accept the burden of leadership, despite being barely out of his teens.

"It's obviously different," said the centre-half. "The season before my brother won Young Player of the Year at 23 - a year older than I am now.

"But last year I wasn't nominated because I was too old.

"So things have changed in the space of a couple of seasons. But it's a role I am enjoying, playing alongside players who are getting better week in, week out.

"I look at Jordan McGhee at 17. He has done extremely well since he's come in and there are other young boys who we have a lot of confidence in.

"At another club, I'd just be a young player myself. But here I'm getting more responsibility in the dressing room and out on the pitch. That can only help me when I do get a wee bit older."

New Inverness boss John Hughes has wasted little time in putting his own stamp on the side, defender Graeme Shinnie claims.

The former Falkirk and Hibernian boss replaced Terry Butcher last week.

He only took charge of the Highlanders two days before last Saturday's 0-0 draw with St Mirren in Paisley and was happy to let coaches Duncan Shearer and Scott Kellacher lead the way.

But Shinnie says Hughes has played a bigger role this week and has been quick to impress his passing philosophy upon his new charges.

The left-back told CaleyJagsTV: "It's been a really exciting week - a lot different to what I am used to.

"The new manager has come and he has got a different style compared to Terry Butcher. The training is good, especially the way he works on passing.

"He has his own style of football and the way that he wants us to play, with an emphasis on passing. It's completely different. I can't wait for Saturday."

Inverness - second in the Scottish Premiership - travel to Tynecastle to take on an administration-hit Hearts side who have shipped 11 goals in their last two games.

Those defeats to Celtic and Dundee United may have been painful for the Jambos but Shinnie is in no mood to show mercy as he eyes up a bundle of points ahead of a busy festive schedule.

"This is the crunch time in the league with a lot of games coming up," he said. "It's a good time of the season to get a run going, put points on the board and cement where we are in the table.

"I've seen Hearts a couple of times this season and they have a lot of good players who have no fear and a re full of energy. They will always pose us a threat.

"But the way we have been playing, keeping clean sheets, is very promising. We will look to get an early goal at Tynecastle then keep it tight. Hopefully after that we can go on and score a few more."

Hughes has no fresh injury troubles ahead of Inverness' trip to Tynecastle.

Caley Thistle face administration-hit Hearts as they look to consolidate second spot in the Scottish Premiership.

James Vincent is again missing with a leg fracture, but the midfield playmaker has been told he can step up his rehabilitation work.

Source: PA