MISSING easy balls and losing concentration has been the undoing of Anthony McGill in recent weeks, so an impressive first-round victory at the Betway UK Championship was a breath of fresh air for the Scottish snooker star.
McGill made three centuries, and further breaks of 84 and 66, as he cruised past local boy Ashley Hugill 6-2 at the York Barbican with an efficient display.
With one ranking event final appearance, one semi-final and three further quarter-finals to his name, the Glaswegian has been a model of consistency this season, although first-round and third-round exits in his past two tournaments have frustrated the 26-year-old.
But McGill appears to be clicking into high gear and this victory should provide a timely confidence boost for the world No.17.
“I played really well, especially to go 4-0,” said McGill. “I don’t think I missed a ball – I made four breaks and he came back a bit but he’s a good player, so you expect that.
“Confidence is quite low at the minute for me, I just keep missing easy balls out of nowhere, which is why I’m pleased with that performance. I made three centuries and only missed one black off the spot.
“If you keep missing easy balls you’re going to get beaten – it’s just a concentration thing, it’s not technical.”
Next up for McGill is world No.50 Hossein Vafaei in the second round this weekend and he is keen to build on the first-round triumph.
“In the last couple of tournaments I have lost early but other than that I’ve been pretty consistent this season,” added McGill.
“I’ll see what happens in round two now – I’ll give it a go.”
Elsewhere in York, world No.2 Judd Trump battered Australia’s Matthew Bolton 6-0 to book his place in the second round.
Trump was caught up in controversy at the Northern Ireland Open last week as he trailed Stuart Carrington 3-2 and 52-0 in the first round when he missed a red to the middle pocket, before conceding the frame by angrily throwing his cue at the ball with 83 points remaining.
He was fined by World Snooker for conceding a frame while he still had enough points to win, and again for failing to fulfil his post-match media duties.
And addressing the incident for the first time, the 28-year-old – who had reached the final of the Shanghai Masters barely 48 hours before – was unrepentant.
“It’s not something that I regret,” insisted Trump. “I think everyone has done it over time.
“I think that was just a lot of travelling that had built up. When you’re not sleeping, you’re not thinking straight.
“I didn’t do anything horrible to Stuart, I didn’t punch the table like other people have done or bang my cue. I just gave up too early when he was going to win because the balls were everywhere.”
Meanwhile, Edinburgh’s two representatives in the first round were both involved in late-night marathons at the York Barbican.
Scott Donaldson’s quest for a first win of the season – he had lost all ten matches played coming into the tournament, four of them in deciders – saw him leading Gateshead’s John Astley 3-2.
World No.66 Donaldson lost the opening frame to a break of 71 but produced runs of 93 and 117 in establishing a narrow lead in the best-of-11 encounter.
And heavy underdog Ross Muir was giving Wales’ Michael White, ranked 80 places above him, all he could handle – locked at 3-3 in their contest.
• Watch LIVE coverage of the UK Championship on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with Colin Murray and analysis from Jimmy White and Neal Foulds