McGill savours Cru­cible magic af­ter knock­ing out ex-champ Mur­phy

The Herald - Herald Sport - - FINAL SAY - JOSHUA RICHARDS

AN­THONY MCGILL be­lieves his ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the “magic of the Cru­cible” is the key to mak­ing waves at the World Snooker Cham­pi­onship.

The 25-year-old reached the quar­ter­fi­nals on his de­but in Sh­effield 12 months ago and is through to round two this sea­son hav­ing de­feated World No 3 Shaun Mur­phy 10-8 in round one.

The Glaswe­gian has been nick­named the “Smil­ing As­sas­sin” hav­ing added Mur­phy to big-name scalps Mark Selby and Stephen Maguire while in Sh­effield.

And though McGill re­vealed snooker did not come into his life un­til the age of nine, the love for the sport has helped, rather than rat­tled, his nerves.

“When I came here last year I had no am­bi­tions at all of win­ning a frame, I just came to en­joy it,” said McGill.

“When you are out there play­ing you look at the car­pet and think ‘that’s where Ron­nie [O’Sul­li­van] stood where he made a max­i­mum’ and ‘Stephen Hendry must have walked on this bit of the car­pet’. So it’s an hon­our to be here. Peo­ple all over the world would love to be here, and I’ve done it twice.”

McGill trailed 5-4 overnight and lost Sun­day morn­ing’s open­ing frame.

But McGill won four frames in suc­ces­sion to claw his way back into the match, be­fore mak­ing a match-clinch­ing 97. He now meets Marco Fu in round two, who beat an­other ex-cham­pion, Peter Eb­don, on Satur­day night.

One mem­ber of the Tar­tan Army is go­ing home though, af­ter Alan McManus de­feated Stephen Maguire 10-7. Maguire avoided hav­ing to nav­i­gate qual­i­fi­ca­tion when he snuck into the top 16 fol­low­ing the China Open.

But he ad­mit­ted he strug­gled to “get up” for the en­counter and McManus, who goes on to meet Ali Carter, will be hav­ing a ‘blather’ with his com­pa­triot, who has now suf­fered four suc­ces­sive first round de­feats at the Cru­cible.

“I feel for Ste­vie, he’s had some rough rides here over the last few years,” said the 45-year-old. “I’m go­ing to have a blather with him, be­cause he is such a 200 Ren­field Street, Glas­gow G2 3QB. email: [email protected]­herald.co.uk. Tel 0141 302 7156 Sports ed­i­tor Gary Ke­own / Deputy sports ed­i­tor Gor­don Steven­son good player. I want to get him hun­gry, be­cause when he is hun­gry he is an un­be­liev­able an­i­mal. He’ll be back.”

Maguire made 77 and 76 to take the first two frames, but McManus clinched seven of the next eight. World No 16 Maguire, twice a Cru­cible semi-fi­nal­ist, won the next three frames to make a fist of it. But it was McManus got over the line, wrap­ping things up with a 63.

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