JAMIE Mackie was grateful Oxford United were handed a meaningful game to finish their season, even if it ended in defeat.

The 3-1 loss at Kenilworth Road was enough to guarantee the Sky Bet League One title for Luton Town.

United started the day knowing whatever happened they could finish no lower than 12th after an excellent nine-game unbeaten run.

Although the visitors could not finish on a high by spoiling the party, Mackie felt they gained from the occasion.

He said: “We could have been in more of a dead rubber and you’d learn nothing from the game, it would have been like a testimonial pace.

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“But I thought that was a good advert for the division, especially in the 46th game of the season with the tempo.

“They’re a good side but equally I think we are as well.

“I think in the run-in when people needed points I don’t think anyone wanted to play us, because they could see we were a good team with good players.”

The mid-table finish was United’s second highest in 20 campaigns, behind eighth from two seasons ago.

Given their long battle against relegation, it was a solid result, but Mackie felt listening to Luton lift the trophy should act as a spur for next season.

He said: “We could hear them lift the trophy.

“Over 46 games it’s a fantastic achievement, but our boys know there’s more than a 12th-placed finish in us.

“From where we were I think it’s really good because we were struggling.

“It was a tough relegation battle at one point and we’ve got ourselves out to look like we’re a mid-table team, but it’s not how you want to finish.”