Joe Chalmers welcomes Caley

Joe Chalmers is keen to help Dunfermline secure a win over Inverness Caley Thistle on Saturday.  He still has many friends at the club where he spent two seasons and he certainly doesn’t want to be catching up on them after a defeat at their hands. Joe played 96 matches for Inverness Caley Thistle over two seasons – 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 – while the Highlanders were in the Championship. Under the leadership of John Robertson he won the Challenge Cup and played in the Premiership Play-Off final during his stay in the Highland capital and he admitted that he always looks forward to coming up against them:-

“They were two of the best years I had in my career, I loved every minute of it up there. I loved staying up there, my son was born up there – it is just a good place and a club that looked after me. They still have some of the staff and the players that I played with there so it always nice to see them. I have nothing but good things to say about my time at Inverness.” That said Joe was quick to point out “You want to beat them because you don’t want to be going speaking to people after the game and they have just got one over on you. It is definitely one I want to win.”

In early September Dunfermline drew 1-1 in the first league match played between the sides this season. At the time Caley Thistle were managed by Billy Dodds but now they are under the leadership of Duncan Ferguson. Joe warned that they might still be benefiting from the ‘new manager’ effect:-

“They have a different manager than the one we faced at the start of the season. They seem to be on good form, they have got good players. Every game you go into in this league, you know that you are going to be in for a tough game. If you dip below your levels you are going to be up against it.”

Inverness are undefeated in the five games since Duncan Ferguson took over, that in stark contrast to the ten game run without a win prior to Duncan’s return to Scottish football after an absence of 29 years. He honed his coaching skills at Everton and after two stints as caretaker manager left in 2022 to take up the manager’s position at Forest Green Rovers and was subsequently appointed manager of Inverness Caledonian Thistle in September this year. Joe confessed to knowing very little about Ferguson but knows that he and his team mates want to squash the memory of the defeat to Dundee United.

“Obviously you know about him as a player. He is not a man you would want to get on the wrong side of. They played Dundee United recently and when we did our work on United we saw a wee bit of them. They played some really nice football and they passed the ball really well. Their style is to play good football which Inverness over the years always seem to do. It should be a good game.

“After that Dundee United game you just want the next one as quick as possible. You want to go again because it hurts. We had a couple of days off before getting back into training and coming up with a way to beat Inverness, it is not going to be easy.”

A late Chris Mochrie goal inflicted the 2-1 defeat to United and Joe described how disappointed everyone was and he felt that they deserved to take something out of the game. “It was a tough one to take, we put a lot into it and to come away with nothing is obviously disappointing.

“I actually felt that we were unlucky to be behind at half time. We lost a goal not long before half time but I thought that we were playing well up until then. When we came out in the second half there wasn’t much in it. We got the goal back – Moff did really well – we felt that we had a wee bit of momentum and hoped to kick on. We had a few chances and a few opportunities then we were done near the end. So it was a hard one to take.”

Indeed, Dunfermline put a lot of effort into Friday night’s game and there was not much between the teams for the entire 90 minutes. Joe added:-

“Dundee United are top of the league and unbeaten but that is twice we have gone toe to toe with them and been more than a match for them. If we can turn in performances more often than not we will win more games. We need to take the level of performance out of it and try and get the points to go with it.”

The Raith game at the end of October was another performance that the Pars believed they deserved something out of but Joe was realistic:-

“We don’t want to be saying we played well but we don’t get the points. The points are the main thing but if we can keep turning out these kinds of performances, the manager and Dave (Mackay) have said that they are convinced that we will go on a good run and we will put a good run together.

“There is a lot of confidence in the changing room amongst the players. We believe in each other, the manager believes in us and we are all positive and working towards the same thing. We have a good team spirit and every game we go into we believe that we can win.”

The 29 year old midfielder was delighted to welcome the return of Matty Todd and Kane Ritchie-Hosler against Dundee United:-

“It is brilliant to see them back. Matty did well when he came on, we could see what we have missed with him being out. It was good to see Kane back on as well. They were two massive players for us last season, I think they will have a big impact in the games that we have left to come. They will play a big part for us.”

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