St Mirren's Paul McGowan ordered to do unpaid work for attacking two cops

A Scottish Premiership footballer has been sentenced to 130 hours of unpaid work and a one-year supervision order for attacking two police officers.

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St Mirren player Paul McGowan admitted kicking police constable Edward Gilmartin and repeatedly kicking police constable Tony Fitzpatrick in Airdrie and at Coatbridge police station on August 11 last year.
Sheriff Frank Pieri told McGowan, who has a previous conviction for police assault, that his punishment was a direct alternative to custody.
The 26-year-old pleaded guilty to the double assault at Airdrie Sheriff Court last month and returned for sentencing today.
Sheriff Pieri told him: "People who act in this way towards police officers can expect a prison sentence, especially with someone like your record.
"However, I am prepared to deal with you in this way as a direct alternative to custody."
The court heard how McGowan - a father-of-one - had been on a night-out in his home town of Airdrie with his father when the incident took place.
Police were called to Wheatholm Street after receiving a tip-off about an incident involving the former Celtic youth player.
As soon as the officers arrived, McGowan ran towards Reid Street before slipping, allowing the police to catch up and detain him.
While being handcuffed, the footballer kicked out at Pc Gilmartin, striking him on the knee.
He was then held face down but kicked out again, catching Pc Fitzpatrick on the inner thigh and groin area, causing him "severe pain".
Because of his aggressive manner, the officers were forced to restrain his feet using fast-straps before he was taken to Coatbridge police station.
McGowan's solicitor Mark Lutton told Sheriff Pieri that the incident was an "impulsive reaction by a young man that was drunk".
He said the handcuffs caused McGowan discomfort following a shoulder injury which required surgery and kept him out of football for three months at the tail end of 2012.
The solicitor added: "His behaviour was totally inappropriate and he totally accepts and recognises it as such.
"He fully accepts his wrongdoing. He is able to recognise the role excessive alcohol has played.
"He does not offer that as an excuse but to explain his behaviour. He is thoroughly ashamed.
"He is full of regret and remorse, and offers his full apology to both the court and to the police officers concerned."
McGowan's lawyer added that the player's relationship with his father is usually good but said that his parents were "deeply disappointed" by their son's behaviour.
The court also heard that despite his record, McGowan was rated as being only of a "low-risk of re-offending".
Outside court, McGowan said: ''I'm not allowed to say anything but I would have
taken that if you'd have asked me.''
The sentence of 130 hours of unpaid work was reduced from 170 hours on account of his early guilty plea but McGowan was told that as part of his community payback order he may have to meet with the Meridian Alcohol Counselling service.
In a statement issued on the club's website, a St Mirren spokesman said: "Today's sentencing brings this deeply regrettable matter to a close.
"We have been very clear that we do not condone Paul's actions in any way. Everyone involved with St Mirren Football Club is fully aware that we expect them to act in accordance with our commitment to respect and tolerance in our community.
"Paul knows what he did was wrong and completely unacceptable. As a club, our long-term objective is to help him learn from his behaviour and move on with his life and career and, as such, we have no further comment to make."

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