BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Former Rangers and Dundee defender Gary MacKenzie admits the opportunity to return to Scotland and reunite with Alex Rae was too good to turn down after penning a one-year deal with St Mirren.
The 30-year-old was a free agent after being released by English League One outfit Doncaster Rovers and, after six years in English football, was keen to seal a switch north of the border to be closer to his family.
And Rae, who coached MacKenzie for two years at Dens Park, wasted no time in tabling an offer.
“I’ve been in England for six years and I had moved the family back up to Scotland three years ago but it hasn’t been ideal.
“When I spoke to Alex he told me there was a possibility that I could come here, get back to playing and enjoying my football and going home to my family it was very appealing.”
A Rangers academy product, MacKenzie represented the Gers twice before going on to make 110 appearances for Dundee. He departed Scottish football for MK Dons in 2010 and subsequently turned out for Blackpool, Bradford and Notts County.
He was named in Scotland squads by George Burley for the 2011 friendly against Cyprus, then returned to the fold for Brazil 2014 qualifiers against Serbia and Macedonia in 2012.
However, MacKenzie was an unused substitute for all three fixtures and is yet to make his international bow.
MacKenzie told the St Mirren website: “I’ve got a lot of experience and I’ve played at quite a high level.
“I played 50 games in the English Championship and did well enough to be called into the Scotland squad.
“I’m fully committed in everything I do and hopefully with me coming back here to my family then the football takes care of itself and you should actually see a better me than I have been in the last few years.”
He becomes St Mirren’s fourth summer signing as they eye a tilt at the Championship this term, joining Ben Gordon, Kyle Hutton and David Clarkson at the Paisley 2021 Stadium.