McGowan To Rekindle McDonald Duel

It won’t be the green of Celtic that Ryan McGowan sees on Sunday, but rather that of Western United at GMHBA Stadium.

A relative unknown in the Hyundai A-League as the competition’s newest club, there is one familiar face for the Sky Blues’ centre half, that of Scott McDonald, as the pair get set to rekindle their duels born in the Scottish Premiership.

McGowan, of Hearts of Midlothian, and McDonald, of Celtic FC, faced off a number of times between 2008 and 2010, and also played together with the Socceroos in 2012, and they’re encounters McGowan recalls well.

“McDonald is a really good goalscorer, I think he’s a clever player and probably someone that doesn’t get the credit he deserves for the career that he’s had,” McGowan said.

“It’ll be a really tricky game if McDonald plays up front with Berisha and Diamanti in behind. You need to be one your toes and not give them any chances.

“I remember you couldn’t give him [McDonald] any space or chances in the box, he was a bit of a fox in the box and a very good finisher.

“All games against Celtic are difficult, always a tough encounter, but we’re looking forward to it on Sunday and coming out on top.

“I think it helps prepare having played with him [McDonald] before [for the Socceroos],” he continued.

“That was a while ago so hopefully he’s slowed down a little bit, but it’s always good having that experience of playing against those players.

“We’ll be out as a team to keep them quiet and get another win on the road.”

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Scott McDonald against Hearts in 2009.

Having faced Western United in pre-season, triumphing 2-1, the Sky Blues have an idea of what’s in store in Geelong.

And with Melbourne City having the BYE this week, there’s an added reason to win, with 3 points taking the Sky Blues into outright first on the ladder.

“That’s a huge incentive for us [overtaking City who have the BYE],” McGowan said.

“It puts some points between us and Western United who we expect to be up there contesting it, and it lays down a marker so early in the season that we want to be the ones everyone’s chasing and wants to beat.

“I thought they were good [in pre-season], they’ve added a couple of players since we played them, added firepower with Berisha in the squad, they’re well organized and I think they’ve surprised a few people,” he continued.

“We as a team said after the game we thought they’d be there or thereabouts with the experience and quality they’ve got so it’ll be another tough game.

“As a team we’ve played well. We just need to keep that momentum going and keep progressing.

“Results like beating Perth in Perth are confidence boosters going into a tricky game on Sunday.”

Sydney FC take on Western United on Sunday 1st December in round 7 of the Hyundai A-League (kick off 4pm AEDT).

Watch on Fox Sports 505, Stream on ‘My Football Live’ or follow @SydneyFC on Twitter for live updates from the clash.