Scottish Professional Championship 2011: McGill Stuns Maguire to set up Dott semi

While the three previous quarter-finals this week went the way of the form book, Anthony McGill caused a surprise today by inflicting a 5-3 defeat upon former world number two Stephen Maguire to book a semi-final clash with Graeme Dott…

Match Summary by Chris Irving

Stephen Maguire 3-5 Anthony McGill

The local boy came good to produce the shock of the Scottish Professional Champinships so far. Anthony McGill, nicknamed the tartan nugget after the legendary Steve Davis, produced a display he would be proud of, dumping one of the top players in the world out to progress to the last four.

McGill had the backing of the local crowd and he looked relaxed from the off, playing some confident and assured snooker to take an early lead.

The other players this week will have to go some to top this one as it had everything, terrible misses, some scintillating snooker and some terrible luck to boot for both players. The young star went agonisingly close to taking a two frame lead but luck deserted him after a decent break of 38, he looked in a good position to go on and close it out but a cruel kick on a red allowed Maguire a chance to pull level. He did just that with a dramatic black ball re-spot.

That black ball pot seemed to give Maguirre the confidence to kick on and he did, notching up a two frame lead to go in at the break in a comfortable position, 3-1 ahead.

However, write this young man off at your peril. He produced a marvellous display in finishing and looked assuraed and confident in the balls, keeping Maguire firmly rooted to his chair, notching up and impressive score of 71 to 0 to pull a frame back.

The sixth frame was naturally a cagey affair with both players struggling to get any fluency in their play but McGill dug deep to pull level just when it looked like his luck had deserted him as it had done all evening. At 3-3 it was anybody’s match and you could cut the atmosphere inside the hall with a knife as nobody knew what was going to happen next.

Maguire took control of the seventh frame early on, smashing home a break of 40 but his long potting cost him all night as he let McGill in and you got the feeling that any chance the young man got at this stage he was going to grab with both hands and he did. He produced some marvellous shooting in amongst the balls with pace and rhythm as he racked up a score of 75 to take the lead for the first time since frame one.

They say every match has a turning point and it came in what was to be the last frame. Maguire looked to have forced a last frame decider as he notched up a break of 61 and was looking confident and clinical in the balls. But then something happened that changed the whole complexion of the match and swung it back in his opponent’s favour. Once again, he attempted a long pot on a red and just like before, it got stuck in the jaws as the crowd gasped collectively.

The atmosphere was now even more tense as everyone sensed that young Anthony was going to seize this opportunity.
He held his nerve and finished the job off to produce one of the biggest results of his short professional career and he will need to produce another similar performance to get the better of the impressive Graeme Dott.

It goes without saying, the youngster was delighted after the match. He beamed:

“I’m delighted, I found myself three one down but the interval came at the right time and allowed me to settle down and I played well after the break. I managed to play well at the right times in the match and there was no use giving up if I you’re going to get beat you might as well get beat trying.”

He paid tribute to the magnificent crowd that were behind him all the way. He said:

“This is my home club so they were all behind me and the support was great. The atmopshere helped me and to play well and a crowd with a good atmopshere gives me great confidence.”

Maguire was naturally disappointed afterwards but accepted that the best man won in the end. He said:

“He should have won 5-3 quite easily but he missed a red and gave me a half-chance and I blew it. At 3-1 I should have kicked on and I thought play well and you’re safe but I wish there wasn’t an interval because it seemed to help him!”

He admitted McGill has a bright future ahead of him. He continued “I’ve always said he has class and he has a bright future ahead of him but I will forget about this and turn my thoughts to the big one next week.”