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Coll Donaldson wants Ross County to build from the back as the hunt for form

Rangers v Ross County – Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership – Ibrox Stadium
(Image credit: Jane Barlow)

Coll Donaldson reckons Ross County need to take a leaf out of Steve Clarke’s tactics book if they want to turn their stuttering season around.

The Staggies started the new term on fire, collecting seven points from the first nine available.

But since kicking-off the campaign with back-to-back clean sheets as they registered wins against Motherwell and Hamilton, Stuart Kettlewell’s Dingwall outfit have only managed one other Premiership victory.

That victory over St Johnstone in Perth was coincidentally their only other shut-out so far and Donaldson knows his team need to stiffen up at the back.

The big defender has watched out Clarke has transformed Scotland’s fortunes by making his team first and foremost hard to breakdown – and believes the same approach would do wonders for County.

He said: “It’s a big frustration. The gaffer mentioned it before the Betfred Cup game against Arbroath on Tuesday night that he was looking for a clean sheet so to concede again, albeit to a decent free-kick, was really disappointing.

“But we’re looking to get back to how we were at the start of the season, hard to beat and shutting teams out.

“I look at how Scotland are performing right now under Steve Clarke. They are build from the back with some solid foundations and that’s definitely a model that we want to base ourselves on.

“We want other teams to have to work really hard if they are going to beat us so that Scotland blueprint is what we’re looking at.

“The basis of any good team is the ability to keep clean sheets and once you do that, you can build from there.

“There is a consistency element to our performances this season.

“You can’t have weeks when you’re on it like we were when we got our last clean sheet at St Johnstone then the following week go to Aberdeen and put in a first-half display where we could easily have shipped four goals.

“You need to have more consistency at this level and that’s something the coaching staff are really drumming into us.”

Donaldson will come up against a familiar face in Hibernian’s Kevin Nisbet this weekend.

He was twice part of an Inverness team last term which managed to prevent the then Dunfermline striker from adding to the 23-goal haul which won him a £250,000 move to Easter Road.

Nisbet is now being tipped for international honours but the prospect of facing the in-form frontman does not faze the Dingwall defender.

“I played against him twice last year. He’s a decent player and you could definitely see he was a Premiership player playing in the Championship at that stage.

“He did really well to continue his Raith form on with Dunfermline. Confidence for a striker is a huge thing and he has got an abundance of that right now.

“I’m looking forward to a tough game but also relishing the challenge.

“I’m not surprised to see him get tipped for a Scotland call-up. We’ve seen Steve Clarke make it clear if you do well for your club you’ll get a chance.

“But I’m not worried about that at all. I spent three years in the Championship so now I’m at this level I just look forward to taking on guys likes your Nisbets, your Edouards and your Moreloses. There’s no fear, I just look forward to the challenge.”