McCulloch not ready to throw in the towel

World number 35 Ian McCulloch has endured a torrid time recently but following surgery on his troublesome shoulder, is now feeling more positive about his game…

Ian told

“I was destroyed to be honest, it was probably the hardest time of my career,”

“In the last 18 months I’ve broken my foot, burst my appendix, had an operation on my shoulder and also come down with swine flu.

“It’s been so hard, but I’ve had good people around who have helped me out the other side.”

“I pulled out of the UK Championship last season because of my shoulder,”

“It was just getting worse and worse, I was in absolute agony when I was playing a shot.

“I had to get something done and had surgery, but it’s taken a long time to get back.

“My wife, Wendy, has been brilliant for me and supported me through everything. She knows I’ve never been a quitter and I’ve been working so hard to get back to the form I know I can produce. I’ve had surgery now and been having physio and exercising a lot. I just kept my head down and got on with it.

“Sometimes you have to make the best of a bad situation – and that’s what I’ve done. I’m not getting any younger, but I’ve still got a lot to offer.”

“I’m still hungry to be successful, I’m not going to throw the towel in.”

A fine player at his peak, it is good to hear that Preston’s Ian McCulloch is now in better shape physically and having qualified for the last 32 of the Grand Prix, hopefully in a position to play to somewhere near his best on the table.

He has had a strange career in many ways, not breaking into the top 32 until the 2003/4 season before he was able the reach the semi-final of the World Championship the following year. Given his success around the time you would have expected Ian to make it into the top 16 and indeed he did, but thanks to Shaun Murphy’s victory at the Crucible in 2005 Ian was still forced to qualify for the final stages of events as a result and in many ways never seemed to recover from this.

Now 38 years old, Ian has struggled with his game for the reasons he outlines above and his lack of confidence was all too apparent against Mark Allen the other day when he played a slow game. As was suggested in commentary I think that there is a danger of overthinking certain shots in that situation and this was something that I also witnessed as he lost out to Rory McLeod during the World Championship qualifiers back in March.

Hopefully though he can now put some wins together and get back into the top 32…