Wednesday 21st June 2017

AS ‘new’ signings go, Tom Walsh isn’t up there as being all that new to Dumbarton.

Or is he?

He returns to the Rock 13 months after the last game of his loan spell from Rangers in May 2016. Very few players remain at the club from that 1-1 draw at Alloa.

And there’s been another change since that day — one which the forward admits was a massive selling point towards a return to Sons.

While Stevie Aitken remains in charge as he was that afternoon, the chance to work with old Rangers colleague Ian Durrant — now assistant manager at Dumbarton — proved a big lure for the 20-year-old.

Speaking to www.dumbartonfootballclub.com, Tom said: “I’m looking forward to it. I need to get back playing every week, and the manager liked what he saw from me the first time I was here.

“Obviously Durranty is here as well, so for me it made sense to come back and play football again.

“He has always been great with me. He demands the best from me because he believes in what I can do.

“So it will be good to have him pushing me on, as well as the manager, and hopefully that can get me playing my best again.

“It’s crazy to think how many players have moved on since I last played here. But some of them are still around, and I know a lot of the boys already from Dumbarton and other places.

“I feel at home in the dressing room and training over the last few days has been great. They’re a good bunch.

“The first day back was tough — circuit training and the bleep test. Then the last two nights have been general training.”

Tom celebrates scoring against Queen of the South in a 4-2 win for Sons in April 2016.

After his first stay with Sons, Tom was sent out on loan by Rangers again, and played for St Mirren in the first half of last season. He was back at the Rock in Buddies colours last September in a 1-1 draw.

But his stay didn’t last and, following his permanent departure from Ibrox, he found himself across the Irish Sea for the second half of the season.

Now back in his homeland, he hopes that, for the second time, he can help Dumbarton reach their goal.

He told the club website: “I enjoyed that game. It was quite surreal going back to Dumbarton and playing against players I’d played with the season before.

“That was probably one of my better games for St Mirren. I didn’t play there as much as I’d have liked, but that’s just how it went.

“After that, I left Rangers and went on trial with a few clubs. Then I was over in Ireland and signed for Limerick.

“But I only played a couple of games. It was a massive squad and it kept getting rotated as it was a caretaker manager.

“I wasn’t happy about that, or a couple of matters off the pitch, so I just decided it wasn’t for me.

“I’m grateful to Dumbarton for giving me the opportunity and I’m focused on taking it.

“The team is still part-time, but the club has done really well to stay in the league for the last few years and I hope I can help them push on.”

Andy Galloway

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