By Phil Lanning
SIZZLING Alan Soutar will be cheering on Scotland in England but won’t be changing his walk-on tune to new Tartan Army anthem Yes Sir, I Can Boogie!
The red-hot fireman has been one of the biggest stories of the PDC this year after reaching the UK Open quarter-finals and qualifying for the World Championship after winning almost £20k in ranking money.
Now Arbroath ace Soots, 43, embarks on the latest ProTour Super Series in Milton Keynes on Monday with one eye on Steve Clarke’s men.
He said: “I’m especially passionate about the national team. I think Monday is massive for us. That’s the two lesser favoured teams if you like, if we can get something from the Czech Republic, then you never know next Friday!
“We are massive underdogs against England and Croatia. But a win on Monday and then a draw out of one of the other two games and we’ll get through.
“I’m toeing the oche on Monday at 2pm when the game starts. I have to switch off from football and focus on darts, but I’ll check as soon as I can.
“On Friday I’m actually travelling from Milton Keynes to London for one of my sponsors. I have packed my tartan trousers and my Scotland top. I don’t know if I’ll make my flight home!
“The buzz around Scotland and the social media, everything feels amazing. Everyone is coming into work with the retro football shirts on. I just bought the 1982 yellow strip. I love the patriotic nature of Scotland and the fans during a major championship.
“Obviously the Tartan Army have adopted Yes Sir I Can Boogie as their theme. But I can’t have it as my walk-on for the World Championship because it’s too slow. Also the Ally Pally won’t be full of Scots in London in December. I’m probably changing my walk-on song to fire-related for my job like Disco Inferno by The Trammps.”
Soutar admits that he has the right mentality to deal with his leap into the PDC big time after serving in the military in some of the toughest conditions.
He added: “I was a commando with the Royal Marines. I was more in the peace-keeping forces in the 90s and early 2000s, that was in Bosnia, Kosovo and Northern Ireland. But we saw quite a lot of horrible stuff, especially in Kosovo.
“But I feel that the fire brigade is a worse scenario because I deal with death a lot more. You are with people, trying to save them.
“A lot of things don’t bother me, I have perspective about what is important in life. I have the right temperament to deal with darts.
“It’s a state of mind. My wife Amanda always says to me that I’m maybe cold and have a stone heart, emotionally.
“I can just switch off and just play darts, it doesn’t really bother me that it’s Peter Wright or Dave Chisnall, they’re just the same as me. I know they have got higher profiles but I know I can play at a 100 average level. I just need to do it at the right time against these players.”
Soutar remains super-cool about his progress and it will be new era for him in Milton Keynes with his own Mission Darts.
He added: “My management have crunched the numbers and looked at the FDI Index and they talked about 10 grand being the qualifying mark for the World Championship in years gone by and obviously past that.
“To be honest I like to play things down but in the back of your mind you want to push yourself as far as you can.
“Now that I’ve had a taste of it and I’ve been in the room and seen everyone, I’m now quite confident going down to these events.
“It will be different this week. I have just changed to my new Mission Darts. This is a new thing for me. For 25 or 30 years I’ve played with Steve Beaton’s darts. I’ve changed two or three times when Steve has changed.
“But these are my new darts designed for me. I’ve been practising really well, so I’m happy and there’s nothing negative in my head for Monday.
“I obviously am looking for a top 64 place, that’s the first milestone if you like.
“But the World Matchplay is the next major. I would need a monumental effort to get into that, win a ProTour and get £10,000 on my rankings to close the gap. I’m not a million miles away but it would take something very special.
“My modest goal is to catch Lisa Ashton. I’m 79th in the rankings, she is 78th. It’s one place above and £2,000. Obviously you want to be as high as you can, but I will take one place at a time.”
Images by Taylor Lanning.