ST MIRREN striker John Sutton insists he can make a big contribution to Saints’ promotion challenge this season despite seeing limited time on the pitch so far.

The veteran striker started Saints’ first two league games of the season before a change of formation against Livingston and Dundee United when manager Jack Ross played one striker in a 3-4-2-1 system, saw him relegated to the bench.

With fellow striker Gavin Reilly finding the net eight times in 10 games this season, and Saints’ displays in the new system, the 33-year-old would be forgiven for having some concerns about when his next start is likely to be.

But after coming off the bench to score in the 3-1 win over Hearts Colts on Saturday, Sutton is adamant he can play an important role for the Paisley side this year.

He said: “I was pleased to start against Falkirk and we got a good win, the next week against Morton was disappointing for everyone especially in the circumstances.

“But everyone is part of a squad and the main thing is we go up this year, there is good competition for places. We have a really good squad of players there is no doubt about that. Everything is set up for us to do well.

“I feel in good shape and hopefully as the season goes on I can make a big contribution.

“The season is relentless, to win a league you need to be winning most weeks, it is a tough ask.”

The entry of Colts teams in the Irn-Bru Cup has proved controversial with fans of many clubs.

However Sutton admitted he was impressed by the young Hearts side.

He added: “They’re a good team. They’ll be disappointed they didn’t get a foothold in the game in terms of getting level.

“The competition is a good idea, the Irish and the Welsh teams creates a bit of interest for people. When I was younger playing in the youth team is great for learning, playing every week.

“To see how you measure up against an adult team is good experience for them.”