THE life of an athlete isn’t always as glamorous as it may appear from the outside. A decade on the professional snooker circuit has meant Scott Donaldson checking in and out of more hotels than a travelling salesman.

The 28-year-old is not grumbling about his lot but the chance to sleep in his own bed during the BetVictor Scottish Open that begins today in Edinburgh is a rare luxury when you spend most of your working life on the road. Donaldson comes from Perth originally but now lives in Dunfermline, making his commute this week a short scoot across the Queensferry Crossing.

It is a journey he knows well given he plays out of the Locarno snooker club in Slateford and one that will take on extra significance as this tournament returns to Scotland for the first time in three years and to Edinburgh specifically for the first time since 2003.

The newly-renovated Meadowbank Centre will play host to a number of the world’s leading players including John Higgins, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, Shaun Murphy and defending champion Luca Brecel. For Donaldson, the chance to play at home in front of family and friends is an occasion to be cherished.

“This week is going to be good as I stay in Dunfermline so it’s only going to be half an hour’s drive,” he says. “And it will be nice to sleep in my own bed for an event for the first time. My club is in Edinburgh so I’m used to making that journey so it will just be like a normal day for me which will be good.

“Normally we’re preparing to play at an event down south somewhere so you’ve got to factor in your travel and where you’re going to stay. The novelty of staying in a hotel wore off some time ago! You’d rather have your home comforts if possible. So this tournament is different from the others so I’m really looking forward to it.

“It probably brings with it a little more pressure as it’s my home event as you especially want to do well but I don’t mind that at all. Last year it was held in Wales which was a bit bizarre, with the qualifying in Barnsley. So it’s good to be back playing up here and in Edinburgh for the first time in a while.

“The fans here really like their snooker so I’d hope we get a decent crowd in throughout the week. I’m expecting my dad will come along, a few boys from the club and maybe even a few of the guys I used to play with back in Perth. It will be nice knowing they’re in the background watching but when you’re on the table you just have to concentrate on doing your job.”

The prize up for grabs this week is the Stephen Hendry Trophy, named after Scotland’s greatest-ever player. Unsurprisingly he was a role model for Donaldson in the early days too.

“I started out at the Spencer snooker club in Stirling which is where he practised for years,” he reveals. “He was definitely an idol of mine early on, although not so much any more. But him having so much success probably added to the reasons that I wanted to play snooker.”

Donaldson defeated Higgins back in July to claim a notable scalp at the start of the season but hasn’t been able to replicate that form since, failing to progress beyond the last 32 at any event.

The world No.53 has been around the sport long enough now, however, to know that there isn’t always one major reason behind a run of poor results and that it can always change again just as quickly.

“I still enjoy practising and I still enjoy competing,” he adds. “But I don’t enjoy it when I’m playing rubbish. I don’t think anyone does in any sport.

“But when you’re playing well there’s no better feeling. Getting the best out of yourself is what I enjoy doing. I know what my limitations are as well as my weaknesses and strengths and it’s about playing to those.

“I don’t take it that seriously any more to be honest even when I’m doing well, as you know it can turn very quickly. And when you’re playing badly you just have to keep searching for answers, even though it might not be one obvious thing that’s holding you back.

“Sometimes you take a step back when you’re playing well to analyse what you’ve been doing differently and the answer will often be nothing. It’s just part and parcel of life, there are always good and bad times. And it can change just as quickly either way.

“I’m not beating myself up about how the last few events have gone. Performances and results don’t always match up. I know I have it in me to play better so to do that at the Scottish Open would be nice.”