Dundee FC star Paul McGowan was tonight facing jail after he admitted spitting on a bouncer outside a nightclub.
The former Celtic midfielder carried out the attack while on a night out with Dees teammates following the club’s player of the year awards night in May.
An altercation took place with door staff around 2am outside the Underground nightclub in Dundee’s South Tay Street that culminated in McGowan spitting on bouncer Andrew MacLaughlan.
It is understood McGowan was arrested by police at the scene and taken to Dundee’s police HQ before being released on an undertaking to appear at court today.
Now the thug faces jail after a sheriff was shown a list of his previous convictions – which include three separate offences of police assault dating from 2010, 2013 and 2015.
At the time of his last conviction – which involved him making threats to officers before kicking one of them on the body at Coatbridge police station – McGowan was told he was “on the cusp of custody”.
But he avoided prison on that occasion after a court heard he was undergoing counselling for a gambling problem which caused aggression when he drank.
McGowan was instead given a direct alternative to jail by being placed on an electronic tag.
Speaking after that conviction McGowan told how he didn’t want his son to “hear about his dad being on the front pages for hitting a policeman” – and vowed: “I need to tackle my demons every day.”
But now he could face a prison sentence when he returns to Dundee Sheriff Court next month to face sentencing just two days after his club start their Betfred Cup campaign away to Stirling Albion.
Today McGowan, 30, of Kelvin Drive, Airdrie, pleaded guilty on summary complaint to a charge of assaulting Mr MacLaughlan by spitting on him.
Sheriff John Rafferty asked McGowan to confirm he was admitting the charge.
He spoke only to confirm his name and that he was pleading guilty to the charge.
Sheriff Rafferty deferred sentence for social work background reports and an assessment of his suitability for another restriction of liberty order as an alternative to a prison sentence.
McGowan was granted bail meantime.
He refused to comment as he left court today.
Dundee FC also declined to comment on the case.
McGowan – who also previously starred for Hamilton and St Mirren – was signed for Dundee by Paul Hartley in 2014 and has played over 120 games for the club since, scoring six goals.
He turned down a move to local rivals St Johnstone – who finished above the Dees last season – earlier this year before signing an extended contract with the Dens Park side.
In 2015 he admitted his third police assault charge and narrowly avoided a jail term.
Airdrie Sheriff Court heard how in that instance McGowan “charged at officers” called to a disturbance before kicking a cop who had detained him at Coatbridge police station.
In 2013 he also dodged jail over a police assault – being handed 130 hours of community service and a year’s supervision.
He also has another previous assault rap from 2013 and a further police attack conviction from 2010.
Sentencing him in 2015 a Sheriff Derek O’Carroll told McGowan: “You have a hostile attitude to police and your solicitor is right to say you are on the cusp of custody.”