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Teams are now taking Arbroath seriously says Derek Gaston as keeper gives take on impressive defensive stats

Arbroath keeper Derek Gaston.
Arbroath keeper Derek Gaston is relishing Friday night's encounter with Inverness Caley Thistle

Arbroath are having to change the way they play, with teams no longer seeing them as a light touch, says shot-stopper Derek Gaston.

The Lichties return to Championship action this weekend against fellow promotion hopefuls Partick Thistle at Gayfield.

Dick Campbell’s side sit three points clear at the top with just two defeats to their name all season.

Their last loss came at the beginning of January when Ayr United beat them with an early goal.

Opponents recognise Arbroath threat

Gaston now believes opponents are starting to view them as serious title contenders and are trying to play Arbroath at their own game.

“I think that’s what happens when you’re at the top of the league,” he said.

“Teams start recognising that we are a good team and they can’t just come and attack us because we will create chances.

“Ayr played the game brilliantly, in terms of scoring their goal then defending their box really well.

Ayr's James Maxwell (14) rounds Derek Gaston to score a rare winner against Arbroath earlier in January.
Ayr’s James Maxwell (14) rounds Derek Gaston to score a rare winner against Arbroath earlier in January.

“That’s pretty much what we’ve done for the past few seasons.

“We’ve seen that a bit more in the last couple of months. Raith came to our place and changed the way they played, with three centre halves.

“Inverness were quite happy to sit in the second half and get away with the draw.

“It’s something we’re going to learn how to deal with and find a way to win these matches.”

Good going forward and at the back

As well as sitting top of the league, Arbroath have the best attacking stats with the most goals scored and most shots on target – but their defensive form is equally impressive.

Keeper Gaston is joint top for most clean sheets and has only conceded 17 goals, second behind Killie who have let in just 16.

Derek Gaston attempts to punch clear under pressure from Inverness' Shane Sutherland during the New Years' clash at Gayfield.
Derek Gaston attempts to punch clear under pressure from Inverness’ Shane Sutherland during the New Years’ clash at Gayfield.

But the 34-year-old says that the credit doesn’t solely belong to himself and his defence.

“It’s an old cliché, but I think we’ve been defending from the front,” he explains.

“As a team, we’ve kept our structure and been really well organised. We’ve not broke out of our shape.

Arrboath's attack is key to their impressive defensive stats, according to Gaston.
Arbroath’s attack is key to their impressive defensive stats, according to Gaston.

“If you’d said at the start of season we’d have conceded the fewest goals at this point then you would think I would have plenty of man-of-the-match performances, but that’s not the case.

“The shots I’ve had to deal with have been limited.

“That comes from the pressing from the front with the guys putting teams under pressure and not letting them build an attack.

“It makes our jobs at the back a lot easier.”

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