GARY ANDERSON warmed-up for the Betfred World Matchplay semi-final by blaming himself for being “off radar” and vital concentration lapses.
The Flying Scotsman takes on protege Michael Smith in a mouthwatering master versus apprentice clash tonight (Saturday) at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
Ando has so far defied his board rustiness with three workmanlike wins – including over Simon Whitlock in the quarters – but seems to have his fiesty attitude back.On his concentration issues, he vowed: “I’m trying to learn how to do it. In the end there I just ended up falling out with myself.
Look here’s a treble, hit it. It worked a bit better towards the end.“It’s just the present, it used to work for players years and years ago, they days are long gone. These lads coming through now don’t actually care. “Van Gerwen’s gone, Rob’s gone, Peter’s gone, they don’t care who they are playing nowadays.”
Anderson pulled away in the closing stages against a stubborn Whitlock and admits he needs to step up to another level.
He continued: “It was hard work again but once I got the concentration I was alright. There’s some good bits but I also go off the rails. That’s what’s driving me nuts.“
But I’ve been off the radar for a while so it’s maybe my own fault.“Smithy’s a bit quicker game, Simon was a bit quick and I couldn’t keep up with him. It’s got to the stage I’m huffing and puffing behind these fast players.“If I can get my concentration right and my darts going right, we’ll see what happens.”
In an interesting quirk of fate, the Scot also won the last major behind closed doors at the UK Open two years ago. It would be an odd double for him to land another fan-less title.
“It would be but I was a better player a few years ago though. It would be nice but it’s no Blackpool is it. It’s weird, it’s definitely weird.“It’s still going to be classed as the Matchplay but it’ll be a bit different.
“A lot of players have struggled with it, it’s weird. Until you’ve actually played the game and been on big stages in front of big crowds, you’ll not know. They’ll just say they are moaning. But unless you’ve done it, zip it and try it.“
It’s quite easy mouthing off, excuses this, excuses that. They don’t know, they’ve never done it. How do you actually know?”
Bully Boy has dumped his hero Ando on the last four occasions they’ve met, including the Premier League semi-final a couple of years ago. Anderson cheekily says that all good runs must finish at some time, adding:
“I think he’s beat us the last 12 times we’ve played to be honest but the only thing about that is that it’s got to come to an end.“
“This gamesmanship that never happens”
” I know Michael, he knows I’m up there to play darts and he’ll do the same. There’ll be no gamesmanship up there, hopefully a proper game of darts.“
Trust me I need to practice. Before it used to be very easy, it’s not easy now.”