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Shamrock Rovers complete the signing of Scottish defender Ally Gilchrist

The 22-year-old moves to Tallaght Stadium having been with St Johnstone since 2010.

Image: Jeff Holmes

ANOTHER PLAYER RELEASED by St Johnstone recently will be playing his football in the SSE Airtricity League in 2018.

A few days after Graham Cummins returned to hometown club Cork City from the Scottish Premiership outfit, Shamrock Rovers have announced the signing of Ally Gilchrist.

With moves lined up elsewhere, both Cummins and Gilchrist had their St Johnstone contracts cancelled by mutual consent on 30 December.

Gilchrist made 23 appearances for St Johnstone during his time at McDiarmid Park, with his first start coming in the Europa League tie against Lithuanian side FK Trakai earlier this season.

“I’m absolutely buzzing to join Rovers,” said Gilchrist. “It’s been in the pipeline for a few weeks now and I’m just happy to get over the line. I was previously supposed to get something sorted on loan, I was training here last summer for a few days.

“I met the lads and the staff and it’s a great set-up. The club managed to get back in contact with me about a permanent deal. I just jumped at the chance and couldn’t turn it down.

“Graham Cummins has gone back to play for his home team as well so hopefully I get to play against him next season. I got along really well with Alan Mannus [ex-Shamrock Rovers and current St Johnstone goalkeeper] and he spoke really highly of the club. He only told me good things, that everyone is very welcoming and it’s a great standard.

“You obviously see a lot of League of Ireland players getting moves to England which shows the standard of the league over here is very good. It’s a big club and I’m really excited about all the games coming up.”

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180104-Ally-Gilchrist-signing-1 Source: George Kelly

He added: “I definitely need a fresh start. It was a great experience to play in the Europa League games but it was just a shame I couldn’t play more. It’ll be quite a personal achievement to play in Europe two years in a row. Hopefully it comes about that way.”

Gilchrist earned first-team experience in Scotland during two loan spells as a St Johnstone player — with Elgin City in League Two in 2014-15 and in League One with Peterhead the following season.

Shamrock Rovers boss Stephen Bradley said: “There’s no doubt that the time he had outside of St Johnstone has helped him come on in terms of the games he’s played. You can tell he’s been a professional for a number of years because of the way he trains, the way he carries himself and the shape he’s in. For us it was a no brainer to get him in. He’s a very good defender, quick and strong.

“He’s left-footed and can play a bit as well. He’s a good age for us and fits in well with what we’re doing. I believe he adds a lot of quality to the team and the squad. If you look at us, we’re a big side all over the pitch now. You have to defend a lot of set pieces and you get a lot for you as well, so it’s a big part of this league. Ally is a big lad and he adds to what we have in the squad in terms of physicality.”

Bradley, whose side open their Premier Division campaign away to Bohemians on 16 February, added: “We’re very happy with what we have as a squad and there will be one or two more coming in that will add more quality to it. There’s no panic.

“Supposedly we’ve been after every player in Ireland and missed out! We’ve been looking in the UK and Scandinavia, not just in the last few weeks but for a long time. You’re always looking.”

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