Ross County skipper Keith Watson hopes Saturday’s 0-0 draw with St Johnstone is the first sign of a more defensively sound Staggies side this season.
County opened the Premiership campaign with a goalless draw against last season’s double cup winners, in Malky Mackay’s first league match in charge.
The Staggies defended strongly throughout, albeit conceding a penalty which Ali McCann blazed high over the bar with 20 minutes remaining.
Defender Watson felt Mackay’s extensive work on tightening up the Staggies throughout pre-season bore fruit.
He said: “The manager has come in and he’s massive on organisation, especially at set pieces and you could see that.
“We conceded a lot of goals from them in previous seasons.
“St Johnstone put you under pressure at set plays, they are one of the best teams at them, but we defended them really well.
“That comes from knowing our jobs and doing the work on the training pitch.
“Being hard to beat is the base for any team, if you keep it solid at the back and keep clean sheets then you’ll always have a chance in a game.
“We are delighted with a clean sheet in the first game of the season and now we want to build on it.”
Watson, who was last week appointed as club captain to replace Iain Vigurs, has formed a back-three alongside Alex Iacovitti and Coll Donaldson in County’s three competitive matches so far.
The 31-year-old feels the partnership has shown strong early signs, adding: “The manager went with the new shape in pre-season and we are getting used to playing together as a three.
“As time goes on we will get more used to each other’s strengths and weaknesses in that system.
“We need to create more and be better in the final third, but the boys are happy with how the first game went.”
Mackay spoke after the game of his need to bring in new faces, with the Staggies boss hopeful of adding five additions ahead of their next league match away to Hibernian on Sunday.
County were also dealt the blow of losing left back Jake Vokins to a fractured metatarsal on the eve of the match, with the on-loan Southampton player facing a 10-week lay-off.
Watson is relishing the added competition for places, adding: “We need numbers in, definitely, because there were a lot of tired legs out there.
“We have a lot of young boys on the bench but we need bodies in and hopefully in the next few weeks the manager will be able to add.
“You need competition for places as well, that’s important at any club.
“We need to have players in the squad pushing each other.”