Jack Baldwin reckons Ross County have every reason to feel confident every time they play at Victoria Park.
The 28-year-old defender should face visitors St Mirren today in the Premiership, with the Staggies side just two points off the top six after their 1-0 midweek win at Motherwell courtesy of a Joseph Hungbo spot-kick.
County have lost just one of their last nine games in Dingwall and that form has been crucial to aiding their rise from 12th spot to eighth.
Opposition don’t like Highland visits
Baldwin is determined to keep that strong form going as they close in on those teams placed just above them.
He said: “The majority of games in Scotland are in a certain geographical location. Teams don’t like coming to the Highlands.
“It’s not their most desired place to play, so we relish that and try to make it even harder for them by the performances we have put in on the pitch.
“If you do well at home and pick on points away then you will put yourself in a great position.
To each and every County fan that came to cheer us on at Motherwell last night thank you for travelling to be with us and helping us take the 3⃣ points back to Dingwall pic.twitter.com/qkFmkw9VNA
— Ross County FC (@RossCounty) March 3, 2022
“Our home form has been massive and it has helped us build some momentum going into the away fixtures.
“Dingwall is a tough venue for teams and if we can keep our strong form here going then it makes it harder for our opponents. They will notice our results and know it will be a tough place to come.”
Keeping it clean is goal for defender
The midweek victory at Motherwell was County’s first clean sheet since their 0-0 draw at St Mirren in December.
Baldwin, who joined County last summer after leaving Bristol Rovers, is calling on his team-mates to try and replicate that to enhance their winning chances.
He said: “As a defender, clean sheets are our bread and butter. They have been few and far between this season, so to get a clean sheet away from home at this point of the season is great.
“Hopefully we can keep a few more of those before the split, because we’re the third-top scorers in the division. If we shut the door at the other end, we will always have chances to pick up points.
“We’re learning that side of the game, being harder to beat. Teams really have to work hard to break us down. It is always something we can improve on.
“There have been times this season when we have leaked a couple of soft goals, so, as a squad, we are relishing that challenge of keeping clean sheets. That’s not just as a defence and goalkeeping unit, but as a squad.”
Praise for focused keeper Laidlaw
Keeper Ross Laidlaw has impressed since returning to the team last month after on-loan Charlton stop-stopper Ashley Maynard-Brewer suffered a broken nose in the 3-3 draw with Rangers in January.
Baldwin praised Laidlaw’s attitude for keeping focused when having to watch the Aussie between the posts.
He added: “Ash came in this season and played a solid stint of games. We call it the goalkeepers’ union, because it’s a strange dynamic where they train together every day but there is only one position come Saturday.
“Credit to Ross – he has been fantastic when Ash was called upon. Ross had to sit on the bench, but never once complained. He understands that was the manager’s choice at the time.
“Ash has unfortunately suffered an injury and Ross has come in and been fantastic for us. He pulled off a couple of massive saves at Motherwell on Wednesday to earn the clean sheet for the team.”
‘Winning ugly’ counted at Fir Park
Looking back at the midweek triumph, Baldwin insists the result mattered more than the battling display at Fir Park.
He said: “We were delighted. To get a win and a clean sheet is massive for us as a group.
“Those games are not the prettiest, but ultimately the league table doesn’t look at how you’ve performed or how many passes you complete or any other stats. Three points are what counts and that’s massive.
“Having played Motherwell this season, we knew what the game was going to be like. We knew we’d have to stand up to their physical threat and the style of play they implement.
“To win ugly is a nice trait to have. We have also played better this season and lost, so getting three points was the biggest thing.”
Leaders throughout Staggies’ squad
Baldwin has been captain of the side at times when, like present, skipper Keith Watson has been out of action.
The 28-year-old former Sunderland player explained there are no shortage of players capable of leading by example in the current County group.
He said: “We still have Keith Watson as club captain, but when he’s not involved, I get called upon to wear the armband.
Back to back wins, big performance from the boys! Delighted to get another goal! We march on 🚀 pic.twitter.com/K7TRidnPAX
— Joseph Hungbo (@JosephHungbo) March 3, 2022
“But we’ve got a good handful of players here with a lot of experience. No matter what they’re like off the pitch, as soon as you cross the white line, you unleash another character.
“We might have some who are not necessarily the loudest in the changing room, but when it comes to doing to business on matchday, they understand the importance of it.
“I feel as if the large majority of this squad are leaders, who could pull it together when needed. I don’t feel any particular pressure having the armband, because we have an efficient group when it comes to speaking and leading.”