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NEWS: Ex-Dundee and Dundee United man Ryan McGowan says becoming A-League champion will make family sacrifices worth it

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Former Dundee and Dundee United defender Ryan McGowan says becoming an A-League champion this weekend will make all his family sacrifices this year worth it.

The Aussie’s last match on British soil was for the Dark Blues as they were relegated from the Premiership in May 2019.

However, his move Down Under has been much more fruitful on the pitch as he helped Sydney FC to the Premier’s Plate by topping the league season.

And this Sunday the Sky Blues can assert their dominance in Australia by winning the Grand Final against Melbourne City, managed by Erick Mombaerts, in Sydney.

Like the UK, Australia is in the midst of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and all teams have been kept in an A-League hub to prevent transmission of the virus since play restarted in July.

Before that, McGowan had been back in the UK for the birth of his daughter Millie.

He said: “It was difficult. Having to leave home when she was three weeks old isn’t ideal. She will be just over three months, so most of her life I have not been next to her or with her which has been difficult.

“It will all be worthwhile if we win Sunday. When I go back, I will at least have something to show her.”

Yesterday, McGowan and his teammates saw off Perth Glory in the semi-final with a 2-0 win in Sydney thanks to goals from Milos Ninkovic and Adam Le Fondre.

That’s after going through two weeks of quarantine on his return to Australia and spending late nights and early mornings on calls to his family back in Scotland.

Should he add the A-League to his Scottish Cup and Chinese FA Cup winner’s medals with Hearts and Shandong Luneng Taishan respectively, McGowan insists the pain of spending so much time away from his loved ones will be much easier to bear.

He added: “It’s not ideal, trying to get up early to catch them at the end of their day. Then it’s about 5pm when they get up. It’s not been easy.

“They’re the sacrifices you need to make if you want to win things. Hopefully, we will have fond memories to look back upon if we win the Grand Final.

“Throughout the whole league there are stories like that, it’s not just me.

“There are teams who had to move into hubs, leave their family and take pay cuts.

“Wellington, Perth, all the teams who came here [to the play-offs] went through massive sacrifices as well just to get the league going. I don’t think that gets enough credit.”

Despite there being no set date for the 2020/21 campaign to get under way, 31-year-old McGowan plans to stick around in Sydney and, hopefully, defend their title next time around.

Though he doesn’t plan to be spending his next quarantine period when returning from the UK alone this time.

“When I am due back, I will come back with them all [his wife and two kids] and do quarantine with them all for the start of next season,” he added.

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