McGowan set for China switch
Ryan McGowan bade farewell to his Hearts team-mates on Wednesday ahead of a likely move to Shandong Luneng in the Chinese Super League.
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Financially-troubled Hearts have accepted a bid believed to be worth around £400,000 for the 23-year-old Australia international, whose contract is due to expire at the end of the season.
Right-back McGowan has been withdrawn from the Hearts squad for Thursday's Edinburgh derby with Hibernian in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League and is due to travel to China imminently.
Hearts manager John McGlynn said: "The club have accepted a bid for Ryan so he won't play any part in the game.
"Although he's not put pen to paper, we run the risk of him getting injured. If he got a serious injury that deal would go down the tube and the football club need the money.
"It's disappointing to lose him but it's the state of affairs. If good offers come in, in the financial situation we find ourselves in, we need to accept them."
McGowan joined Hearts in June 2006 and has made more than 70 appearances for the club, establishing himself as a first-team regular in the last 18 months.
He was a William Hill Scottish Cup winner in May, scoring the fourth goal in the 5-1 defeat against Hibs; indeed, both his Hearts goals have come in Edinburgh derbies.
McGowan, an ever-present this term, was seen at Hearts' training base in west Edinburgh ahead of the day's session today.
McGlynn admitted Hearts are not in a position to rebuff good offers, particularly for those players whose deals expire at the end of the season.
He did not rule out further departures as Hearts seek to erase an anticipated £800,000 shortfall for the season.
"I don't think he wanted to go and for the football club to not get money back for him," McGlynn added.
"We are still haemorrhaging money and not bringing in enough.
"It's really just a matter of getting to the summer, then getting the wage bill down to a level where Hearts can work within its means.
"If the football club feel we have to sell any other players, that would be the reason why. We have to get to the summer."
McGlynn paid tribute to McGowan, whose younger brother Dylan remains at the club, and called for Hearts' other young players to emulate his example by establishing themselves in the first team.
McGlynn added: "He's been here a long time. He's improved a lot, but his best years are still ahead of him. Hopefully he'll develop and have a great career.
"It's for us to produce more young players. Hopefully, we bear the fruits of that.
"It will be an opportunity tomorrow night for one or two to come in."
With Jamie Hamill still out with a knee injury, the promotion of youth appears to be the most likely option at Tynecastle against Hibs, unless midfielder Darren Barr is switched to full-back.
Hearts are subject to a transfer embargo, so an immediate solution cannot be found with the opening of the winter window.
McGlynn was unable to elaborate on the punishment imposed by the Scottish Premier League after Hearts were found guilty of breaching league rules over bonus payments.
Hearts will be permitted to sign only players aged under-21 on a one-in, one-out basis, while an indefinite player registration embargo is in place "until such time as the SPL board is satisfied that the remuneration default is no longer ongoing".
Hearts, whose match with Ross County was postponed on Saturday, hope to enter the winter break by relieving off-field woes with victory over their fiercest rivals, who beat Celtic 1-0 last weekend.
"It's up to us to rise to the challenge," McGlynn said.
"If we can win that game tomorrow night, we would be three points behind Hibs with a game in hand.
"Considering the situation we've come through, that would be a reasonably good position to be in, sitting in a comfortable position for the second half of the season."