PAUL McGOWAN reckons Joey Barton’s Rangers flop should warn Dundee’s new recruits how hard it can be in Scottish football.
Barton was the marquee signing in the Premiership last summer and arrived at Ibrox full of boasts and bluster. But the former Manchester City and Newcastle United midfielder was suspended by the club in September and left with his tail between his legs in November.
McGowan believes Barton’s experience, and that of others before him, is a reminder to the Dark Blues’ eight new signings that the game north of the border is no walk in the park.
Six fresh faces – including goal-scorers Sofien Moussa and Jack Hendry – made their debuts in Tuesday’s last-gasp 2-1 victory over League One Raith Rovers in the Betfred Cup and McGowan insists that tough encounter may have been a surprise for his new colleagues.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s home tie against Highland League winners Buckie Thistle, he said: “The new signings take a wee bit to bed in and Tuesday night was probably a good game for them, because that is what it’s going to be like.
“It’s not going to be pretty on the eye, with time on the ball. It’s not going to be like that and the sooner they know that the better for the team.
“They’re coming here to a new country and a new league, and it’s difficult. It’s maybe not got a reputation but big players have struggled in the league.
“Just look at someone like Joey Barton, for instance.
“And it’s not just him, other great players have come up and found it’s a hard league to go and play in and to express yourself in.
“These games will stand them in good stead.”
McGowan won the League Cup with St Mirren in 2013 and is convinced Dundee, who also have Cowdenbeath and city rivals Dundee United to come, can repeat that success after opening their campaign with Tuesday night’s win.
The 29-year-old added: “We want to get through this league and we want to win the cup, ultimately.
“The chance is there, I’ve won it with St Mirren, and it’s a great day. We would love to get there and the manager has said that – we’re in it to win it.
“The Monday after St Mirren’s win was brilliant, I’ve never seen a Monday quite like it. I think everyone in Paisley had taken the day off and we had big Steven Thompson playing guitar in a bar and one of the boys serving behind the bar.
“It was incredible and something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life, just to be a part of it. It just shows you what can be done.
“It’s going to be tough but anything can happen in cup games. We want a good cup run.”