ST Mirren striker Cody Cooke was delighted to play a part in the win over Hamilton as he made his comeback from a long term injury layoff, writes Kyle Gunn

Cooke suffered a serious knee problem in July against Albion Rovers in the BetFred Cup group stage and hadn’t played since.

And the former Truro City man is relieved to be back on the pitch this side of the winter break.

He said: “It was a relief to get back last weekend. I have been available for a few weeks but the manager has held me back and not chucked me in too early.

"I was fine to play in three or four games but they were in quick succession and I was chomping at the bit to get on.

"Every game I was thinking ‘surely he will be me on now’ but he didn’t. I understand the manager holding me back though.

"So to get back on the pitch and get my first minutes in the league for the season against Hamilton was great.

"The three points were massive for us and it was the perfect time to be back involved.

"It would have been bittersweet if I had made my comeback and we didn’t get the right result.

"Although I didn’t think I would be making my return at left back but I don’t mind.

“Hopefully I can put the injury to the back of my mind now and move on. It dragged on and on and the physio told me I couldn’t afford to chuck myself back in too soon.

"I had to take it step by step and make sure I was 100 per cent fit before I came back. I am feeling good now and I want to kick on.”

Now he’s got a taste for it again, the 26-year-old wants to consolidate a regular place in the starting lineup.

And Cooke, who has made the permanent move to live in Paisley, is hoping to impress gaffer Jim Goodwin enough to earn a new deal in the summer.

But he knows that he’s not the only squad member in that position at the moment, so he needs to stand out even further.

Cooke continued: “This next six months is probably the most important in my career so far. It is important to make sure I feel okay in myself and my body is okay.

"Then I have to show the gaffer I deserve a new deal when he starts sitting boys down to look ahead to next year. I know I need to prove I am worthy of that deal.

"A lot of boys are in the same boat as me in terms of their deal expires next summer so they are hungry to do well as well. I am sure after Christmas it will be in the manager’s mind and the ones he wants to keep next year.

“I want to be top of the pile. I want to stay at the club but I know the ball is in the manager’s court. I am settled up here, I have been here 18 months and I love it up here.

"My life is here now and I want to stay because I am happy. I would love to sit down and talk about the future but I know I have to put in performances first. I would love to bang in a few goals – I don’t know how many I will get at left back mind you! No seriously, hopefully I can get a few.”

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