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Joe Chalmers reveals Dom Thomas history as Dunfermline new boy finally realises John Hughes aspiration

Joe Chalmers
Joe Chalmers is unveiled

Joe Chalmers has revealed that his link-up with Dunfermline boss John Hughes has been seven years in the making.

The Pars’ latest arrival was part of the Motherwell side defeated 3-1 by Hughes’ free-flowing Inverness outfit in 2015, cementing a desire to work with the coach in the future.

What followed were a series of Sliding Doors moments.

Chalmers joined the Caley Jags a year after ‘Yogi’ left the club, albeit his long-time No.2 Brian Rice was still in the Highlands.

The former Celtic youngster then departed Ross County for Ayr United in October 2020 — just three months before Hughes took the reins in Dingwall.

As such, this opportunity feels like a long time coming for Chalmers.

Chalmers in action for Ayr
Chalmers in action for Ayr

“I’ll always remember playing a game for Motherwell against Inverness,” recalled Chalmers. “They beat us [3-1] and some of the football they played was brilliant.

“I remember thinking it was a style of football that would suit me. I’ve always wanted to work with him.

“When I went to Inverness, I missed [Hughes]. But the assistants were still there — Brian Rice and Scott Kellacher.

“At Ross County, I left and then, a couple of months later, he takes the job! I was a bit gutted about that.

“I’m glad to get this chance eventually.”


The admiration is evidently mutual, with Chalmers’ move to East End Park proving a protracted affair.

But, as the clock ticked and a modicum of anxiety crept in, the Pars made it clear he was their number one priority in the heart of midfield.

Chalmers arrives

The switch was finally set on stone on Monday, with Chalmers penning an 18-month contract.

“We started talking a couple of weeks ago,” continued Chalmers. “I’ve had to be patient but Dunfermline were brilliant.

“They told me they wanted me — and they waited. When things drag on a week or two, everyone can get a bit anxious. Things can change at the drop of a hat.

“But Dunfermline said they were willing to wait and I was the player they wanted. Once you hear that, it makes the decision a lot easier.”

Thomas rapport

Chalmers, who could make his debut against Queen of the South on Saturday, will be greeted by a familiar face in the Dunfermline dressing room.

Popular: Dom Thomas

“I’ve been pals with Dom Thomas for a while,” added Chalmers. “We went to the same school [Trinity High, Rutherglen] and both ended up at Celtic as young boys.

“When I signed for Motherwell and we were in the same changing room, that’s when we really became good pals.

“I see him a lot away from football and I’m glad to be back playing with him.”

Chalmers won’t have long to wait before he is reunited with his old Ayr teammates, with Dunfermline slated to visit on February 5; a fascinating sub-plot to a deal between relegation rivals.

He laughed: “I mentioned that to the boys when I said goodbye, ‘I’ll see you in a couple of weeks, anyway!’”

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