Mac's misfortune has now provided McAusland with the chance to nail down a place in the centre of the Paisley rearguard in his favourite position.
At the same time the 22-year-old has been left gutted by the injury heartbreak suffered by his mate who looked set for another outstanding campaign for Saints.
But with McAusland now set to team up with Lee Mair as the new centre-back partnership at Greenhill Road, he has vowed to make the most of his unexpected opportunity.
Cheesy said: "I am absolutely gutted for Darren, just like the rest of the lads. Everyone is hoping Darren can make a full recovery as quickly as possible.
"Obviously he was a massive player for us but out of his misfortune an opportunity has arisen for me and now I just want to focus on making the most of it.
"I think I played around 27 times last season but very few of them were at centre-back which is my favoured position. So hopefully I can make the most of it."
The Buddies will put their unbeaten start to the season on the line when they entertain another unbeaten side in Motherwell tomorrow.
McAusland is determined that his mates will make the most of home advantage to claim their second home win and retain their unbeaten status.
The Saints stopper said: "Obviously Motherwell have had a great start to the season and are unbeaten like ourselves and they will come here with a lot of confidence.
"That said, we put in our best performance of the opening three games against Aberdeen last time at home and if we can maintain these standards then we believe we can match any side in the SPL.
"I think in that respect the signings the manager has made over the summer have been very important. I think we have both the depth and the quality in the squad to really make a challenge further up the table than last season."
Saints boss Danny Lennon is confident Mair will shake off a back strain to make the Well match.
He said: "Lee felt a bit of tightness coming from his back through last week so we gave him Monday and Tuesday off this week, but he has been back in and trained well since then."
Lennon also revealed that club record appearance holder Hugh Murray is on track in his comeback from a knee injury.
The Saints boss said: "Hugh has been suffering a wee bit of discomfort when he does certain things. Basically he has a bruised bone and with the impact work Hugh is working on, every now and again it flares up giving him a bit of discomfort.
"There is nothing you can do for that other than work your way through it."