McGowan soaking up Socceroos experience

New Qantas Socceroo squad member Ryan McGowan has begun the process of turning idols into team-mates in the Scottish capital.

New Qantas Socceroo squad member Ryan McGowan has begun the process of turning idols into team-mates in the Scottish capital.

One of two new faces in Holger Osieck-s 20-man squad to have assembled in Edinburgh, the 22-year-old has admitted to being star struck initially by some of his new peers.

Most familiar with the Qantas Socceroos- Edinburgh surrounds on the back of five years with local club Hearts of Midlothian, McGowan is evidently relishing his first chance to impress in green and gold.

“It-s obviously a great feeling,” said McGowan.

“I-m really enjoying meeting all the boys - the boys that I-ve been looking up to, Lucas Neill and Mark Schwarzer and you do have to pinch yourself sitting there having a meal with them.

“(My aim in camp is to) just to try and learn as much as I can off the senior players and trying to impress if I get an opportunity, that might just be in training or, if I get any game time.”

McGowan arrived into camp only hours after Hearts- 1-1 derby draw with Hibernian at the Easter Road Stadium on Sunday - the same venue for Wednesday-s friendly.

In what was a bruising encounter, McGowan contributed ninety minutes to assist his club to joint-top spot in the Scottish Premier League (SPL) after two rounds of the new season.

While the four-time Scottish League Champions have taken the first steps towards a successful domestic campaign, bettering their effort of last season will take some beating.

Although the Edinburgh-club managed a credible fifth place finish in the SPL, Hearts- season highlight was undoubtedly an astonishing 5-1 thrashing of fierce rivals Hibernian in the Scottish League Cup final.

McGowan netted the fourth goal of Hearts- unforgettable triumph in front of over 50,000 spectators at iconic Glasgow venue Hampden Park - a memory that will endure for some time.

“I-ve loved my time over here, I started playing last season for the first team and I-m thoroughly enjoying it,” said McGowan.

“We won the Cup Final last year and I-m just having a great time at the moment and really enjoying myself.

“I think that-s (the Cup Final) something that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

“There had not been a Heart/Hibs final for a hundred years, so it took the city-s imagination.

“To sell out Hampden Park and to see both sides full and full of hope of winning it and for us to win it the way we did, is something that our fans will probably never forget either.”

The Qantas Socceroos are next in action on Wednesday, 15 August, when they take on Scotland in an international friendly at Edinburgh-s Easter Road Stadium. Kick off is at 8pm local time (Kick off is at 5am AEST, Thursday, 16 August).

Australia-s FIFA World Cup qualification journey resumes on Tuesday, 11 September, when the Qantas Socceroos meet the challenge of Jordan in Amman. Kick off is at 7pm local time (Kick off is at 2am AEST, Wednesday, 12 September).

The Qantas Socceroos are next in Australia in 2013, starting with a FIFA World Cup qualifier against Oman at Sydney-s Stadium Australia on Tuesday, 26 March. Kick off is at 7.30pm local time.

The Qantas Socceroos return to Stadium Australia on Tuesday, 18 June to continue their FIFA World Cup qualification journey against Iraq. Kick off is at 7.30pm local time.

Tickets for each of the aforementioned matches at Stadium Australia are on sale from Ticketek - or via phone, 132 849.