The world No 45 from Dumbarton talks 147s, new arrivals and playing golf at Turnberry.
How would you sum up last season?
If I had won my first match in the World qualifiers I would have said it was a success, but I lost it 10-9, as I did the previous season. That puts a bit of a dampener on it.
What was the highlight?
Making my first competitive 147 at the Bahrain Championship. It was such a nice feeling, a bit like the way it feels when you qualify for Sheffield, and I imagine how it would feel to win a tournament. You have your ups and downs and wins and losses in the game, but that was a special moment that you can look back on at the end of your career, as there aren't that many players who have made a maximum at a venue. It's nice to show that I have the bottle and ability to do it, because we can all make them in practice. I played a terrible shot from blue to pink and had to go round the angles off the pink, but landed perfectly on the black, and no matter how nervous I was I couldn't miss it.
And the low point?
Losing that World qualifier to Daniel Wells. I came from 8-5 down to 9-9 and had a chance in the decider. I was 35 points up when I missed a tricky red with the rest, it rattled in the jaws and finished over the opposite pocket. If it goes in I win the match, but he made a 70-odd break to win. In your first match in that tournament, everything is so tense. I played ok but didn't quite do enough. Losing in the final qualifying round of my home tournament in Glasgow, the Grand Prix, also hurt. I was 4-4 with Jamie Cope and made 50 but then got a terrible kick when it looked like I couldn't lose.
What are your targets for next season?
I want to win all of my first round matches and then see where the other results take me.
You've beaten some top players in your career, including a famous 9-0 win over Stephen Hendry, but do you feel you can still do that at the venues?
I think I'm a better player now than I've ever been. In the last couple of years I've been practising with the likes of Stephen Maguire, John Higgins, Graeme Dott and Alan McManus, and I wish I'd started doing that years ago because I've got a very solid all-round game now. I'm hard to beat, but the next jump is getting to quarter-finals regularly. There are so many good players at the qualifiers - I'd say of the 96 players on the Tour, 80 of them are capable of beating anyone. Mark Williams said last season he couldn't believe how hard it was. So you don't get to that many venues, and when you do it can be a struggle to adapt to playing on the TV tables.
What have you been up to this summer?
My wife Annie and I had our first child, a boy called Leighton, six weeks ago, which has been brilliant. I've had the odd game of golf when I've had time, I played Kingsbarns and Turnberry (where the Open is being played this week) with Alan McManus .
How did you get on at Turnberry?
I shot one over on the front nine but then fell apart a bit on the back nine. I'm a steady player, especially considering after I broke my leg I didn't play for four years.
Any tips for the Open?
Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy. It's about time we had a British winner.