Australian defender Ryan McGowan: Hearts full of late-season hope

The 22-year-old defender and scorer of his side's opener in Saturday's win over Aberdeen believes his side can put a silver lining on this season's dark cloud

Goal-scoring hero Ryan McGowan is optimistic Hearts can build on Saturday's 3-0 victory over Aberdeen and end the season on a high, in spite of the club's off-field issues.

McGowan, 23, headed home midway through the first half to break the deadlock against the Dons in their Scottish Premier League meeting, before a brace from Czech midfielder Rudi Skacel secured all three points for the Edinburgh club.

It has been a season of turmoil for finance-stricken Hearts, however, with the club's players experiencing wage delays on four occasions.   But the campaign could yet finish with European football and a Scottish Cup final appearance, if they can overcome 35-time winners Celtic in the semi-final.

Before their semi-final encounter on April 15, Paulo Sergio's men make the trip to relegation-threatened Dunfermline, and Adelaide-born McGowan - with 17 league starts under his belt this campaign - is intent on claiming all three points.

"We got a good win in front of our own fans and Dunfermline's going to be a tough place to go next week," said McGowan, whose Hearts side lies in sixth on the table.

"They're fighting down the bottom and, with [former Hearts coach Jim] Jefferies going there, he'll know all of us.

"It will be a hard game but we want to look for a win and carry that on into the semi-final.

"The semi-final is a big game for us. If we win that, it could be Europe and a Scottish Cup win.

"But we've got a long way and a lot of hard games to go. The boys know that and we're looking forward to it."

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