Moran ready for the Pressure

from the Mail Online

SH7308Scottish squash hopeful Kevin Moran insists he will not wilt under the pressure of playing in front of a passionate home crowd like Brazil’s footballers did.

The 23-year-old from Paisley – who has been named in seven-strong Team Scotland squad competing at Glasgow 2014 – was stunned to see the World Cup hosts crash out after a 7-1 hammering by Germany in the semi-finals.

Luiz Felipe Scolari’s team were so pumped up for the tournament that stars such as Barcelona striker Neymar were moved to tears during the pre-match anthems.

But the burden of expectation placed on the team by Brazilian public eventually weighed the side down as they were blown away by Joachim Low’s eventual winners,

Now Moran – who will line-up in both the men’s singles and mixed doubles events – insists he is relishing the prospect of being cheered on by his countrymen.

SH7303He told Press Association Sport:

“In Brazil, there was so much expectation placed on the players’ shoulders that they just froze in that semi-final.

“But Team Scotland is big enough, with enough different sports taking part, that it’s not just going to be about the squash guys. It’s 17 sports, one team, you know?

“Everyone is just looking forward to going out to compete for their country so I don’t really feel any of that extra pressure.”

Moran’s ranking of 126th in the world suggests he will have his work cut out succeeding in the singles contest.

But the former Scotland Under-23 champion insists he and doubles partner Alex Clark – whose highest ever ranking was 95th two years ago – can be contenders when the squash action begins next Thursday at Scotstoun.

“The squash team have been together in the prep camp at Stirling University for a few days now and it’s all getting pretty real,” he said.

“Our preparations have been going really well and we got a sneak peak of the class court at Scotstoun the other day too. It looks fantastic and everyone is buzzing – I can’t wait to get on there.

“In terms of our world ranking, we are a bit far down because squash is a really strong event amongst the Commonwealth nations.

“But doubles is a completely different dynamic and anything can happen. Our preparations has been mainly geared towards doubles and we are working towards getting the best we can out of our performance.”

Although it is keenly contested at an amateur level in the US, doubles squash is not a part of the PSA tour and is rarely if ever contested outside the Commonwealth Games.

SH7305That means Moran and Clark have had to work closely to ensure they are in perfect sync ahead of the games.

He said: “You need to have that relationship on and off the court if you are going to succeed. So as well as a training hard, Alex and I have been spending some time together going for coffees, just making sure we know each other as well as possible.

“Mixed doubles is a completely different game towards the all-male version. In the mixed format, the girl typically tends to be attacked quite a lot. In games like table tennis it is shot-for-shot, but in squash the girl will see most of the ball.

“So it’s my responsibility to insert myself into the game as much as I can and try to help her along.

“It will require a lot explosive movement from myself and a steady hand from Alex.”

from the Mail Online