ST MIRREN defender Gary MacKenzie says he is happy to sit on the sidelines if it helps the Paisley outfit seal the Championship crown.

The 32-year-old has struggled with injuries this season after suffering concussion in the season opener against Falkirk and then injuring his Achilles' tendon in a practice match on his road back to full fitness. The big centre-half made his first appearance since December 23 in the 1-0 home win over Brechin City at the weekend as one of two changes made by Jack Ross following the 4-1 mauling by Livingston. It was also MacKenzie's first home game since that August 5 match against the Bairns.

Now the former MK Dons and Dundee stopper says he hopes he can retain his place in the first XI but will understand if he is asked to take a backseat during the run in.

He said: "I've had it a few times where I've missed a big chunk of the season, but not probably coming back into a team that's doing so well and then have to wait your turn, but I haven't got a problem with it at all. It's all part of football, I'd much rather us be top of the league, go on and win the league and me sit on the bench and cheer the boys on.

"That's just the way it is. I'd never wish ill-luck or ill-fortune on the club just so I can get back in the team. I was more than happy when the boys were winning and were doing well, but when you've got the opportunity to get back into the team you need to take it. It's been a while and I've been back training now for two months, but the boys have been doing really well so I've got no qualms about not playing when the boys are doing as well as they have been doing, and you just need to wait your turn. That's football.

"I've spoken to the gaffer and I understood that was never going to be any sour grapes or whatever, there's an understanding the boys are doing really well. We're top of the league, you don't change it and it's as simple as that. Obviously after last week there's an opportunity for me to come back in, so it was good."

The hosts laboured to a win at the Paisley 2021 Stadium, Kyle Magennis' free-kick, which bounced off the back of City's goalkeeper Patrick O'Neil on its way into the net, was the difference on Saturday.

It was another three points despite the fortunate nature of the goal, and it took Saints another step closer to winning the title as they moved 11 points clear of second-placed Livingston.

And the defender reckons it's answered any questions about his side having a potential wobble after their heavy defeat against Livi last week.

He added: "If there are questions about you then you answer them, and we've done that time after time.

"When we've had a bad result we've bounced back and it was important today to get it, it extends that lead and puts other teams under pressure."