Gordon Chisholm

Gordon William Chisholm (born 8 April 1960 in Glasgow) is a Scottish professional football former player and manager. Chisholm played as a central defender for Sunderland, Hibernian, Dundee and Partick Thistle.

Gordon Chisholm
Chisholm outside Palmerston Park, Dumfries.
Personal information
Full name Gordon William Chisholm[1]
Date of birth (1960-04-08) 8 April 1960 (age 61)
Place of birth Glasgow, Scotland
Position(s) Central defender
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1978–1985 Sunderland 197 (10)
1985–1987 Hibernian 59 (4)
1987–1992 Dundee 155 (15)
1992 Partick Thistle 9 (0)
Teams managed
2005–2006 Dundee United
2007–2010 Queen of the South
2010 Dundee
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

After retiring as a player, Chisholm became a coach, working in some of his roles as assistant to Ian McCall. Chisholm succeeded McCall as manager of Dundee United in 2005, and guided the club to the 2005 Scottish Cup Final, which they lost 1–0 to Celtic. He was sacked the following season, however, and was subsequently appointed manager of Scottish First Division club Queen of the South. Chisholm guided the club to the 2008 Scottish Cup Final, which they lost 3–2 to Rangers. Chisholm left Queens in 2010 to manage Dundee, but was made redundant when the club went into administration in October 2010.

Playing career

In England

Chisholm started his career at Sunderland where he spent seven years and was a member of the side that reached the final of the Football League Cup in March 1985, where they lost 1–0 to Norwich City. Unfortunately for Chisholm, he deflected Asa Hartford's shot into the net for Norwich's winning goal.

In Scotland

Chisholm moved back to Scotland later that year, when he joined Hibernian for a £60,000 fee.[2] He scored a goal on his Hibs debut, a Scottish League Cup semi-final win against Rangers.[2] This meant that Chisholm achieved the unusual feat of playing in League Cup Finals in the same calendar year in both England and Scotland.[2] Unfortunately for Chisholm, both finals were lost, as Hibs lost 3–0 to Aberdeen.[3] He later had spells at Dundee and Partick Thistle before retiring in 1992. Chisholm was a "tall, commanding central defender" who "could also play in the holding midfield role".[2]

Managerial career

Early managerial career

Chisholm had assistant manager roles at Partick Thistle, Clydebank, Ross County, Airdrie, Falkirk and Dundee United, primarily working with Ian McCall.[2]

Dundee United

Chisholm was appointed as caretaker manager of Dundee United on 14 March 2005, following the sacking of Ian McCall. Chisholm suffered 3–2 defeats against both Celtic and Hibernian in his first two matches in charge. The following week, however, Chisholm's team triumphed over Hibernian, Rangers and Hearts. United then went on to end a run of eight games over three years without a win against neighbours Dundee, with goals by Mark Wilson and Jim McIntyre sealing a 2–1 win. These results meant that Chisholm won the SPL manager of the month award in his first full month in charge of the team (April 2005). Chisholm's team then retained SPL status in dramatic style with a late Barry Robson penalty at Inverness on the final day of the season.

United's victory against Hibs meant that they reached the 2005 Scottish Cup Final, which they lost 1–0 against Celtic. As Celtic had already qualified for the UEFA Champions League, however, United qualified for the UEFA Cup. Chisholm was given the position of manager on a permanent basis on 24 May 2005. Despite spending considerable money on players such as Lee Miller, Dundee United were eliminated in the qualifying stage of the UEFA Cup by Finnish team MyPa. Poor league form and a 3–2 defeat against Aberdeen in the third round of the Scottish Cup, after having led 2–0, led to Chisholm being sacked on 10 January 2006 by Dundee United chairman Eddie Thompson.

Queen of the South

Semi final result on the scoreboard at Hampden Park

Chisholm again became Ian McCall's assistant, this time at Dumfries club Queen of the South, until McCall's departure from the club at the end of the 2006–07 season. Chisholm then accepted the role as manager, appointing Kenny Brannigan as his assistant manager. Chairman Davie Rae also announced that the club would become fully professional that season. In March 2008, Chisholm guided Queens to only their second ever Scottish Cup semi-final appearance with a 2–0 quarter final victory against Dundee, a game notable for a goal from 84 yards by Ryan McCann. Queens followed this with a 4–3 win against Aberdeen in the semi-final, which meant that Chisholm had guided Queens to their first ever Scottish Cup Final appearance. Despite second half Queens goals by Steve Tosh and Jim Thomson, Rangers ran out 3–2 winners in the Final. Queens finished fourth in the Scottish First Division.[4]

As Rangers had already qualified for the 2008–09 UEFA Champions League through their league position, Queens entered the 2008–09 UEFA Cup competition. They were drawn in a qualification round against Danish club FC Nordsjælland. The first leg, hosted at the Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie, was played in a quagmire with the Danes running out 2–1 winners. Queens delivered a stronger performance in the return leg, controlling most of the game but with only one goal to show for their superiority. With a 1–0 victory of no value in an aggregate result due to the away goals rule and Queens pushing all out for the second goal, the Danes took advantage to score two goals in the last five minutes.[4] Chisholm's team selection for the UEFA Cup ties caused some surprise. With Stephen Dobbie the most prolific striker at the club in a generation, Chisholm started with Dobbie on the bench for both ties instead preferring the workmanlike Stewart Kean.[5]

A strong start to the 2008–09 league campaign saw the club sitting top of the table in October.[6][7] At the same time, Chisholm was linked with the vacant position at Dundee, but Davie Rae refused Chisholm permission to talk to the Dark Blues.[6][7] This coincided with Queens losing form, as they gained only three draws from the next 12 games placing them only one place above bottom.[8] Their form improved in the latter part of the season and the club finished in mid-table.[8]

The 2009–10 season progressed in a similar fashion to the season before. Queens were top of the table, but poorer results followed that dragged the club into a mid table position. The club also suffered a 4–0 defeat in the Scottish Cup against Airdrie.[9] Chisholm applied for the vacant managerial position at Kilmarnock,[10] but the job was taken by Jimmy Calderwood. Two months later, Chisholm was offered the vacant position at Dundee. Chisholm made the following comments after leaving QoS:[11]

I had an excellent working relationship with Chairman Davie Rae, a person I always had a tremendous respect for. I'll always remember the great support shown by Queens' fans over the past two and a half years and the players themselves have been fantastic and a pleasure to work with. We had some great times getting to the Scottish Cup Final at Hampden and playing in Europe and those memories will live with me for the rest of my life. I'd just like to add a big 'thank you' to all at Queen of the South and wish them all the best for the future. And I genuinely mean that!


Chisholm took the Dundee job while they were top of the First Division, although the club had just sacked Jocky Scott after going four games without a win.[12] Chisholm said ahead of his first game in charge, "It was an opportunity I just couldn't pass by at my time of life, but it will be a strange experience being on opposite sides tomorrow night." Chisholm was the first person to manage both major Dundee clubs.[11] Billy Dodds, who was the Queen of the South strikers coach under Chisholm, joined him at Dens Park as his assistant.[11]

Dundee failed to win promotion at the end of the 2009–10 season and entered administration a few months later.[13] The administrator made Chisholm and Dodds redundant the following day.[13]

East Fife

After leaving Dundee in October 2010 and spending over a year out of professional football, Chisholm set up an estate agent business with his wife.[14] In March 2012, Chisholm was appointed assistant manager of East Fife by Gordon Durie on a part-time basis.[14] After Durie took ill during a game, Chisholm took control of the team.[14] He resigned from his position at East Fife in October 2012 due to the pressures of combining both tasks and commuting from Lenzie to Methil.[14] Chisholm was then appointed as international development coach with Sunderland.[15]


  1. "Gordon Chisholm". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  2. Jeffrey, pp36.
  3. http://qosfc.com/HeadlineNews/ViewFullStory/tabid/151/selectmoduleid/498/ArticleID/1124/reftab/36/Default.aspx%5B%5D "League Cup Doonhamers" on www.qosfc.com
  4. "Club History" on the official Queen of the South website Archived 13 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  5. "Congratulations Stephen Dobbie" www.qosfc.com 30 May 2011
  6. http://sport.stv.tv/football/36178-dundee-seek-quick-replacement-for-rae/ Dundee seek quick replacement for Rae
  7. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/d/dundee/7690081.stm Dundee thwarted in manager search
  8. Queen of the South Results[permanent dead link]
  9. Results and fixtures
  10. http://www.qosfc.com/HeadlineNews/ViewFullStory/tabid/151/selectmoduleid/498/ArticleID/1001/reftab/54/Default.aspx "The Kilmarnock scenario" Archived 4 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  11. http://www.qosfc.com/HeadlineNews/ViewFullStory/tabid/151/selectmoduleid/498/ArticleID/1127/reftab/36/Default.aspx 'Chis' takes over the 'hot seat' at Dundee" [dead link]
  12. "Dundee appoint Chisholm as boss". BBC Sport. BBC. 22 March 2010.
  13. Spence, Jim (15 October 2010). "Administrator removes Dundee management team". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  14. "Chisholm steps down at Methil". The Scotsman. Johnston Publishing. 13 October 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  15. Tait, Chris (30 November 2012). "Gordon Chisholm is embracing his intriguing new role with Sunderland". The Herald. Herald & Times Group. Retrieved 1 December 2012.