Robert Thornton believes he can flourish into his late fifties and return to the top echelons of world darts after enjoying a recent resurgence.
Thornton, a three-time major champion, is renowned as one of Scotland’s greatest dartists, but a difficult spell both on and off the oche over the past 18 months has seen him fall out of favour.
The 51-year-old has dropped to 47th in the PDC Order of Merit having climbed as high as fifth in 2015 following his World Grand Prix triumph.
However, the Ayrshire ace enjoyed his best run in a ranking tournament for almost two years as he reached the Semi-Finals of Players Championship 16 last month, hitting a nine-darter along the way, and believes he can use that as a springboard to success in the second half of the season.
“It’s a start, and if I can throw like that for the rest of the season I’ll be quite happy and they’ll be in trouble,” Thornton told Live Darts.
“Rob Thornton’s not going anywhere, my wife’s on the mend and The Thorn’s going to come back – simple.
“My missus is my backbone, she calls me a little pit bull with the heart of a lion, but she’s the driving force.
“I don’t care about these young upstarts coming up and thinking they can beat me. The old boys want to improve just as much as they do. We’ve got as much fire in us as them.
“Look at Steve Beaton, he’s still going strong. The Bronzed Adonis turns up, smile on his face, and churns out the results. We can all do it.”
The 2015 World Grand Prix was Thornton’s last major success and he says he is determined to secure a return to Dublin in October in a quest to regain the crown in a format he favours.
He added: “I don’t know if I can make Blackpool but I’m setting my sights on getting back to Dublin – I want my title back.
“Double-start and double-finish, that’s my game, I love it.
“2015 feels like a lifetime ago, but if anyone out there thinks The Thorn is done, he isn’t, he’s just coming back.
“When I play Michael [Van Gerwen] he always tries to get one over on me because I beat him in the Grand Prix final.
“I love Michael to bits but if he’s going for a finish, he should go for it instead of leaving somebody a 170 and them taking it out.
“He did that thinking I wouldn’t hit it and I took the 170 out to put me in front and I didn’t look back.
“If you look at the form now to about two or three years ago, he’s not that far in front.
“Michael’s vulnerable, everybody knows he is, if they can keep on top of him they can put him under pressure and it’s the same with any dart player, it’s all on the day.”