Paul McGowan details unique Celtic Champions League debut

By John Reid

March 25, 2020

Former Celtic midfielder Paul McGowan has detailed the unique circumstances behind his only Champions League group stage appearance for the Hoops, whilst appearing on the Open Goal YouTube podcast.

McGowan disclosed that then Hoops boss Gordon Strachan selected him to face Villarreal in 2008, to help the player with a domestic situation.

His child had been born premature, and he would receive a hefty bonus should the Hoops win the game. Thankfully we did win the match 2-0.

Paul McGowan playing for Celtic (Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images)

“My wee boy, Leo, was premature…I was round about the squad at the time, I was never close to playing or anything…we were still in the Champions League…the bonuses were a joke” McGowan began.

“He didn’t need to do that”

“It came out, baby was in hospital. We had a game against Villarreal, I was in the squad. Put me on the bench…about 75 minutes, he said ‘Gowser get stripped, your on’, he put me on…I was just a young boy, he didn’t need to do that” he concluded.

That truly was a great gesture for Gordon Strachan to make. Helping out a young player in his squad who had a serious personal issue to deal with.

Gesture shows the measure of the man

It shows the measure of the man, and sheds good light on a manager who has perhaps been underappreciated for his success at Celtic.

Gordon Strachan in his time at Celtic (ANDREW YATES/AFP via Getty Images)

However, it seems that McGowan will always be thankful for the gesture that Strachan done for him.

McGowan wasn’t able to make the breakthrough at Celtic. However, he has still had a more than useful career. He is currently with Championship side Dundee, and hasn’t let his lack of success with the Hoops stall his footballing career.