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Scottish stopper joins the Hoops


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Shamrock Rovers have announced the signing of Scottish central defender Ally Gilchrist ahead of the start of the 2018 SSE Airtricity League Premier Division season.

The 22-year-old was a free agent following his departure from Scottish Premiership club St Johnstone where he had spent over six years.

"I'm absolutely buzzing to join Rovers," commented Gilchrist after confirming his move today.

"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."

And Gilchrist is hoping he will get the chance to renew acquaintances with an old Saints team-mate later in the season.

"Graham Cummins has gone back to play for his home team (Cork City) as well so hopefully I get to play against him next season.

"I got along really well with Alan Mannus (ex-Hoops 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."

Gilchrist signs on the dotted line with Shamrock Rovers boss Stephen Bradley

Gilchrist had loan spells in Scotland's lower leagues, firstly with Elgin City and then with Peterhead.

He helped the latter to the League One Playoffs and played against Rangers at Hampden Park in the 2016 Challenge Cup final.

Hoops boss Stephen Bradley had hoped to attain the services of the Scot on loan after his training week in Tallaght but maintained contact with St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright before finally getting his man.

"There's no doubt that the time he had outside of St Johnstone as well has helped him come on in terms of the games he's played," said Bradley.

"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.

Compared to the top two sides in the league last year, Rovers' defensive record was poor so Bradley will be hoping they can address that problem with the addition of the young defender.

"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."

While he is happy with his lot, the Rovers gaffer hasn't ruled out the possibility of any further signings before the start of the season.

"There was a lot of chop and change here last year and the reason was is because it wouldn't happen again. 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."

Rovers get their 2018 season underway with a trip across the Liffey to face fierce rivals Bohemians on February 6.


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