Cornish footballer Cody Cooke has reflected on a 'rollercoaster' of a first season as a professional player.

After seven years with Truro City, Cooke made the switch to Scottish Premiership club St Mirren last summer, and played his part as the club narrowly avoided relegation on the final day of the season.

"It's been really good," he said. "A huge rollercoaster from the start with signing and the manager getting sacked early on but it's been a huge rollercoaster throughout but thankfully it's finished how I expected and how I wanted it to go.

"Finally to get over the line and make sure we stay in the league for another year, and on a personal note to have done well through the back end of the season is just really pleasing."

Cooke joined St Mirren from Truro City after impressing in Leicester City and England striker Jamie Vardy's V9 Academy, which was set up to give talented non-league players a chance at earning a professional contract.

One of the clubs to swoop for Cooke was St Mirren, managed by former Everton defender Alan Stubbs, who was a coach at the academy.

The former Penryn College pupil and Penryn Athletic player could hardly have moved further away from the White Tigers, with some 538 miles separating Truro and Paisley, but he still believes that he made the right one.

"I had a few other options last summer that were closer to home but this one was the best opportunity for me," he said.

"It's been hard to adapt, firstly from part-time to full-time, but then obviously moving so far away from home and changing my life really, because I was living with my girlfriend in Exeter and she's had to move back to Cornwall while I went up to Scotland.

"It has a huge impact, not just on yourself but your close family and people around you as well.

"It's always going to take a while to adapt but I'm glad that I've finally got that box ticked and now I'm feeling a lot more comfortable."

As well as the big geographical change, Cooke had to adapt from being the first name on the team sheet at Truro to a squad member at St Mirren, with the Cornishman often struggling to get into the squad, let alone the starting 11.

That became more difficult when Stubbs left the club just four weeks into the season after just one win and three defeats in their first four league games, with Oran Kearney his replacement.

"I found it really frustrating at the start that I wasn't getting the game time that I felt I should have been getting at that time and with the new manager coming in you then have to convince new people that you should be playing, and it took longer than expected to try and convince him to get me involved.

"I would get in the team and do well and then I would get injured and come out, it was just frustrating for a number of reasons."

By the time the final day of the season rolled around, Cooke had made just three league starts all year and had not yet managed to score his first league goal – having scored once against Alloa in the Scottish Cup – but that changed in some style in their final league game at Dundee.

With the Buddies a goal down at half-time in a must-win match at the already-relegated side, Kearney looked to Cooke, with the ex-Truro man coming off the bench to score a hat-trick and secure a 3-2 victory.

"You always dream of those sorts of things but for it actually to happen is another thing," Cooke said. "I was more frustrated I think at the start that I wasn't involved because the game before on the Monday night against Hamilton I'd come on and done really well and I'd kind of expected that I would start the next game.

"I then found out on the day that I wasn't playing and that was, again, more frustration and thinking 'why am I not playing?'

"He [Kearney] had to change things at half-time and he said 'go and make a name for yourself'. That was his actual words to me before I went on the pitch.

"You get those days in football that things go your way and I'd worked so hard all year to get to that stage and it was just so good to be able to, one, have an extended amount of time on the pitch, and two, to perform and finally get my first goal in the league, and the second and third came closely after that."

That hat-trick wasn't quite enough to avoid a two-legged relegation play-off with Scottish Championship side Dundee United, but Cooke's side secured their Premiership status with a nailbiting penalty shootout win after a 1-1 draw over both legs.

He, and his team-mates, will be hoping for a less dramatic end to next year, while Cooke himself has his sights set on more first-team football and an injury-free campaign.

"We just want to start really well and make sure that we're not fighting in and around those bottom places," he said. "But you never know in football and again it's going to be a real tough season.

"Hopefully I've got over the little niggles and injuries that I've had all year and hopefully I can come back after pre-season nice and strong and ready to hit the ground running."

That sublime hat-trick was undoubtedly his highlight of his first professional campaign, but that first professional goal against Alloa and starting against Celtic - who won the Scottish domestic treble for the third season running - were also contenders.

"Starting at Celtic Park was again another huge highlight," Cooke said. "In front of 50-odd thousand people on a Wednesday night with the light show and stuff like that was, coming from part-time football last year and playing in front of three or four hundred people, to get thrust into that environment, was again a huge day out for me."

Cooke has become an ambassador for Cornish football this season as the latest one of very few active professionals from the Duchy, and the support of those that have followed his progress has certainly not gone unnoticed.

He said: "I'd worked so hard down at Truro for so many years and people have followed my pathway, even from going from Penryn or Falmouth to Truro and it's nice that people are still following my pathway even though I'm not involved in Cornish football.

"I've had so many messages of support to make sure I'm doing all right and not only when things are going well, I've had a lot of messages from a people when times were really hard and when I wasn't even getting in the squad or when I was injured or whatever.

"It's been really pleasing from all of the support that people have given me from up and down the country but especially from Cornwall."