Rangers: Nicky Clark still confident of hitting form

TWELVE months ago, Nicky Clark scored what was already his 13th goal of the season for Queen of the South in a victory at Gayfield Park.Tonight, the striker will return to ­Arbroath with Rangers at the same stage of the campaign having netted just twice so far for the Ibrox club.

Nicky Clark is hoping to claim a couple of goals tonight having scored just two this season, compared to a total of 41 for Queen of the South last season. Picture: SNS
Nicky Clark is hoping to claim a couple of goals tonight having scored just two this season, compared to a total of 41 for Queen of the South last season. Picture: SNS

But Clark has no concerns over being as yet unable to match the prolific form which eventually brought him 41 goals for Queen of the South last season and helped earn him his summer move to Rangers.

The 22-year-old insists he is content with his contribution on the pitch for Ally McCoist’s team, who this evening will look to extend their 100 per cent winning record in League One to 13 matches.

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“I’m not frustrated at all,” said Clark. “Obviously it’s great to score loads of goals but I’ve got two so far and I feel as if I am doing well.

“I’m doing other things off the ball for the team, keeping the ball and ­linking play. The goals will come, it just takes time to settle in.

“Obviously goals are a massive part for a striker, but there are a lot more things you need to do, including working hard as the first line of defence.

“I think I’ve progressed in terms of my awareness of the game and bringing other people into play. The ­manager has been a great help in that respect ­because he obviously knows the ­position well and gives a lot of good pointers in training.

“He’s great at showing me alternative ways of doing things and it’s great having a striker of his quality to learn from.

“My partnership with Jon Daly on the park is coming along well. He’s scoring for fun just now and long may that continue, but he’s also been great for me.

“He’s always talking me through games and telling me where to go so I think we’re working well together.

“There have been games where I had a lot of chances but nothing quite came off, but you can’t let it get to you. You just need to keep going and eventually it might hit off your backside and go in and suddenly you’re off and running.”

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Clark is anticipating an awkward test for Rangers tonight at a venue on the North Sea coast which tends to deliver difficult overhead conditions. “Because of the wind up there and with the ­stadium being so open, Gayfield is a particularly hard place to go,” he added.

“The worst I’ve seen up there was when I played a reserve game when I was at Aberdeen. The referee had to call it off at half-time because the goalie was kicking the ball into the wind and it was just blowing back into his hands.

“It was outrageous, the worst conditions I have ever played in. The boys were laughing about it because it was just unplayable. Any time the ball was going up in the air it was just going ­backwards.

“It will be another test of our mental strength but we are fully focused on every game this season and hopefully can keep our winning run going. I scored both times I played there for Queen of the South last season, so hopefully I can grab one or two again.”

Paul Sheerin, Arbroath’s player/manager does not believe his players will be intimidated by facing a Rangers side yet to drop a point this season or the live TV broadcast from Gayfield.

“In the last couple of years we have played Rangers home and away and Celtic home and away,” explained Sheerin. “A couple of these games were live on TV so the players will not be over excited or anything like that.”

Sheerin, who is without the injured defender Ricky Little and midfielder Connor Birse, added: “We normally play in a very open way and that usually leads to being open at the back as well. We will change our style for this game and err on the side of caution a bit. Rangers are scoring for fun so we have to do something to try and stop that.”