Coll Donaldson on the importance of clean sheets and why Falkirk can take a lot from their draw in Montrose
John McGlynn’s side drew 0-0 at Links Park to stay top of the table by a single point going into Saturday’s clash with third-placed Cove Rangers, and the defender believes gaining a seventh clean sheet of the league campaign is a sign that the team have changed their ways from last term.
Throughout that previous season, Falkirk only kept a clean sheet on 11 occasions on League 1 duty, and he said of this season’s solidity at the back: “Tom (Lang) is helping me play better and he has been so good. It isn’t just him though. The full-backs, whoever has been in there, have really defended well and got stuck in. Finn Yeats has been brilliant as has Leon McCann on the other side. The goalkeepers have dug us out a few times too.
“We looked at our defensive stats from last season and it was main area of improvement for us. If we want to win the league the main thing is that stability at the back before you can go and do the attacking stuff.
“In terms of league fixtures, that was our first clean sheet in a wee while and is something we want to keep seeing each week. We know it is tough but having that base to build from is crucial. If we aren’t conceding a goal then we know it is likely that we are going on to win.”
On the point gained in Angus, Donaldson added: “It is a point that was hard-earned and we are still top going into Saturday – you look at the positives. We take the positives out of it, we got a clean sheet and we were the team in the ascendancy. Montrose made it difficult for us and you have to respect the fact that Links Park is a hard place for any team to go to and pick up the three points.
“In the final third we maybe didn’t create the chances we were hoping to create but we still had a few near misses and a couple of moments that didn’t fall for us.”
Falkirk now welcome Paul Hartley’s Cove Rangers this Saturday (kick-off 3pm) in League 1 as they look to stay top of the division against a resurgent Aberdeen side, who come into the match on the back of an impressive winning run after a tough start to the season.
"I think we and everyone knew that it wasn’t a true reflection of where they would be as a team,” Donaldson said. “They brought in 17/18 signings in the summer and that is something that takes time to really work through.
“They are on a rich vain of form now and we always have difficult games at the Falkirk Stadium anyway – it is the best away in the league for a team to come and play in front of 4,000-odd home fans. We are so focused on getting the three points.”