Anthony McGill has achieved the first part of his World Cup dream, seeing off stiff opposition to make Scotland’s two-man team, now he has his sights set on the title.
World number 17 McGill will join four-time World Champion John Higgins in Wuxi as the Glaswegian duo seek to bring home silverware. In 2015 Higgins came within one match of the title with Stephen Maguire, but lost out to China’s B team of Zhou Yuelong and Yan Bingtao in the final.
McGill earned his place alongside Higgins thanks to a strong 2016/17 season, which allowed him to oust Maguire from the side. He picked up his maiden ranking title at the Indian Open and followed that up with a second at the Shoot Out. McGill can’t wait to take to the baize with the Wizard of Wishaw.
“It’s something different that I’ve never experienced before,” said McGill. “Scotland has a hell of a lot of good players. To be in that team it is amazing and I’m playing alongside a legend. To be honest John is capable of winning this event almost on his own. If he plays anything like his best and I am steady, then we are in with a shout. He’s not a bad teammate to have that’s for sure.”
McGill is aware that representing your country alongside a playing partner brings different pressures than a typical event on tour. However, he is relishing the challenge.
The 26-year-old remarked: “Every other tournament I’ve played is an individual event. You can handle getting beat and take it because you are only letting yourself down. I’ll probably care more about this event than the other ones. We have to be looking to win it. England will be strong, Wales will be strong and China will be strong but we have as much of a chance as anyone.
“I’m excited to be in the team and I want to make the most of the opportunity. You could take any two of the guys in the Scottish World Cup team and there would be no difficulty. We all have that camaraderie. I can’t wait for it.”
McGill was victorious at the Indian Open and the Shoot Out last season
McGill got his 2017/18 campaign underway with a 5-3 defeat of Craig Steadman at China Championship qualifying in Preston. Despite tasting ranking silverware for the first and second times last season, the Scot suffered 13 defeats at the second round stage or earlier. This time around he hopes to rectify that, both in the match arena and on the practice table.
“I feel great and I’m really looking forward to properly getting going. Last season was good for me but I think I need to improve my consistency and get deeper into more tournaments. Overall I’m delighted with the way things are going and I can’t ask for a lot more.
“One problem last season was that I wasn’t practising enough in a competitive environment. That is something I have been trying to do more of. I’ve been playing against Eden Sharav and Chris Totten as well as Alan McManus and Stephen Maguire, so hopefully I will be sharper as the season gets going.”
The Glaswegian’s exploits last season helped him secure automatic qualification for the World Championship at the Crucible by virtue of gaining a spot in the world’s top 16. He suffered a disappointing 10-2 defeat in the opening round against Stephen Maguire and now lies in 17th. McGill is now aiming for a return to snooker’s uppermost echelon before January in order to qualify for his first ever Masters appearance at Alexandra Palace.
“I had my eyes on getting in the Masters at New Year but just missed out. That is one of my goals again this season. It’s probably snooker’s second biggest event and there are so many great players that have never competed in it. Often the best players will remain in the top 16 for years, so there isn’t that much change. It would be great if I could add my name alongside some of the great talents who have played in it. I’ll be doing my best to get in.”