Dundee FC footballer Paul McGowan avoids jail over police attack
Dundee FC footballer Paul McGowan has avoided a prison sentence despite being convicted of police assault for the third time.
The 27-year-old was placed on a 16-week restriction of liberty order, which confines him to his home overnight.
Midfielder McGowan had admitted kicking a policeman at Coatbridge Police Office after being arrested in Airdrie in November 2014.
He also admitted behaving in a threatening or abusive manner.
McGowan was arrested at a house in his home town's Wheatholm Street in the early hours of 23 November, the night after he had played for Dundee against Celtic in Glasgow.
He pleaded not guilty to a charge of resisting arrest and struggling with five police officers, a plea which was accepted by the Crown.
However, the former Celtic and St Mirren player admitted that he had later assaulted PC Jamie White by kicking him on the body at Coatbridge Police Office.
McGowan was given a community sentence last year for a similar attack on police, and has several other convictions for assault and breach of the peace.
Defence lawyer Liam O'Donnell told the court his client had struggled with a gambling addiction, which coupled with alcohol was the cause of his problems.
He said: "There is no doubt alcohol played a part in the assault. He is a professional footballer and should have known better.
"At the age of 23 he separated from his partner and has an underlying gambling problem, which is the root cause of his offending.
"When he takes alcohol his anger about his gambling comes out. He realises he is very close to custody. He is ashamed of the situation."
Sheriff Derek O'Carroll told McGowan he had a "hostile bias towards police" when drunk.
He said: "Custody is at the forefront of the court's mind, but I am sufficiently persuaded there is a direct alternative to custody."
McGowan's restriction of liberty order bans him from leaving his home between 19:00 and 07:00.
Mr O'Donnell told the court that Dundee FC were happy for McGowan to miss their remaining evening fixtures of the season, against Celtic on 22 April and 1 May.
A spokesman said Dundee FC would be standing by McGowan, who was described as "an integral part of the club", and would support him "as he bids to positively resolve his off-the-field issues".