Darts professional Gary Anderson can’t wait for the Unibet Edinburgh Masters next month proclaiming he’d “sell his soul” to win in front of a home crowd.
‘The Flying Scotsman’, who grew up in the Capital as a youngster but now resides in Somerset, is targeting victory at the Royal Highland Centre on the weekend of November 1-2 where the PDC’s top 16 players from the Order of Merit – including last year’s winner Phil Taylor and current world champion Michael van Gerwen – will provide the challenge.
The 43-year-old has enjoyed a return to form this year that has seen him climb to seventh position in the PDC rankings – victories at the German Darts Championships, the Players’ Championships and reaching the semi-finals of the Premier League some of his highlights.
But Anderson, runner-up in the 2011 World Championships, suffered a loss of confidence last season that saw him fail to qualify for the inaugural event at Ingliston last November. “I missed it last year which I was a bit gutted about but to be honest, I wasn’t playing well enough,” Anderson explained. “So missing it was probably a good thing. This year we’re up and running okay and it’s a different tournament now.
“I love coming back up the road and playing in Glasgow and Aberdeen and the reception that you get, nothing can describe what it’s like. You’d sell your soul to win in front of your home crowd.
“We only get about three gigs in Scotland so it is extra pressure. I’m Scottish through and through.”
With Anderson a force to be reckoned with on the circuit once again, he is aiming for revenge over world No. 1 Van Gerwen to whom he lost in the third round of the World Championships last December, despite leading the Dutchman 3-1 at one stage.
“I’m playing at about 90 per cent which is about 85 per cent better than what I was playing last year,” he said. “I’m definitely making the other players think about me now.
“I’m not a walkover like I was a couple of years ago so it’s time to get the head down and get on with it.
“I felt I was getting worse when I was practising and I was starting to think about other things. I’ve just gone back to my old ways and not to worry about anything; it’s paid off.
“You’ve always got to say [Phil] Taylor and then you’ve got Adrian Lewis and Van Gerwen so they’re going to be the favourites next month. But there will be a few boys who’ll have something to say about that. There are no mugs in the game now so no game will be easy.
“Van Gerwen slipped through the net this year (winning the World Championship) and I should have buried him when I had the chance. Then he went on to pip me by one leg in the Premier League so he’s been riding his luck; I’m going to make sure he doesn’t do it again.”
Away from the darts board, Anderson, a Hibs fan, still has an interest in the on goings at Easter Road. “I never get much time to watch the TV but I keep my eye on them (Hibs). A lot of my mates are Hearts supporters so they’ve been given me a hard time lately. But darts is my job and that has to be my focus.”
• The Unibet Masters will take place at the Royal Highland Centre on November 1-2. For tickets, call 0844 871 8807 or visit www.seetickets.com/darts