By Phil Lanning
ALAN SOUTAR admits that backing from Scotland captain Andy Robertson has fired him up for more Worlds glory.
The Arbroath fireman produced another red-hot display to beat World No.7 Jose De Sousa with an epic 136 finish to win 4-3 at the Ally Pally.
It now means Soots, 43, is into the last 16 of the Championship and will face Callan Rydz on Thursday for a place in the quarter-finals.
He revealed: “Scotland captain Andy Robertson has just tweeted me. The hysteria behind all that is just incredible.
“The backing on social media from Scotland is incredible. I’m on my own on that stage in a cauldron of English fans. It’s a daunting place to be.
“But when you can go home from a win and go on social media and look at all the nice comments, it’s really pleasing.
“When you go up there you have got to be focused. If you start thinking about interviews and your hometown, that’s when the wheels fall off.
“But when you win the elation, the feeling that you get for Scotland for me is amazing.
“It’s amazing to feel the backing from my hometown. My football club are all sending me messages of good luck, congratulations and keep it going. The Arbroath spirit.
“At the same time I’ve been at work for the last two days so I don’t get caught up in all that. So it’s worked so far.
“When I was at 3-3 in sets I thought I’ve got to swap anyway on the 31st so I might as well win and swap tomorrow. It’s cool, the swaps are covered until the 1st of January.
“I’m not worried about who I face next at all. I don’t fear any of the top players. They’ve got to beat me. End of the story.”
Soutar missed 11 darts at doubles in the first set and lost it to the Portuguese star but fought back to force a last set decider, despite surviving match darts.
He added: “My hands are absolutely soaking with sweat. People back home don’t understand how nerve-wracking that is and it’s so horrible.
“My emotions are the same, it was kind of the same game as before and a tight finish.
“But in my head I should have been in more control of that. He didn’t turn up at all.
“It’s a fire brigade pun, would hose A or hose B turn up and it was the latter. He didn’t turn up and I’ll take that all day long.
“After the first set I was beating myself up. I felt that when I came back up on stage for a couple of throws. I needed to get it out of my system, it’s so hard to forget blowing a great chance to go one set up.
“Mensur Suljovic and Jose’s mentality seemed to be exactly the same. You could see him posting a 59, 58 or 57 and he was struggling.
“I felt in the first set that he was terrible. I kind of felt it when we went backstage. He snatched the first set off me. In the room where you go back to he couldn’t deal with the crowd either, the noise, the atmosphere and the heat. He was struggling and I kind of picked up on that. I thought: ‘Take your chance’.
“Even though he’s World No.7, he’s struggling up there. It is a fairytale. I think someone is looking down on me, especially when they miss match darts. I think maybe it’s just my time.”