FRUSTRATED Stuart Bingham is still banging his head against a brick wall after missing a gilt-edged red and crashing out of the Scottish Open.

The Basildon player beat Robert Milkins in his third round match on Thursday but slumped to a shock 4-3 defeat against world numver 37 Li Hang later in the evening.

Bingham was 3-1 up against his Chinese opponent and missed a crucial pot in the deciding frame with the finish line looming.

The world number 13 blasted his failure to get over the line and admits finding a formula for success is a problem he’s yet to resolve.

The 44-year-old said: “I didn’t play bad or didn’t play great. At 3-3 I had a couple of chances and missed a red under the black, and I knew that was my chance to win the match. I took it on, it rattled and he cleared up from it.

“That goes in, then I clear up. I had to play it with a bit of side and it was a tough shot, but it was a shot I had to take on. You’ve got to take those shots on to try and win, and if a chance is there I’ve got to try and take it.

“Again, it’s another frustrating loss. I didn’t feel like I did a lot wrong and from 3-1 to 3-3, I didn’t do anything wrong. I’m just banging my head against a brick wall at the moment.

“I had a good win earlier in the day and that was a good game. Even if I’d have lost, I’d have come away thinking I didn’t do a lot wrong.

“My game’s not far away but I’m not getting through to the latter stages that I want to.

“My safety feels like it’s improving every match and I’m getting my chances, it’s just at the end of the frames where a little bit of bad luck, or good luck for my opponent, is the difference.”

Bingham knocked in three half-century breaks against world number 46 Milkins before putting himself on the brink of a quarter-final date with world number one Judd Trump.

The reigning Masters champion struck a fine second frame visit of 129 and while he opened up a two-frame advantage at 3-1, he failed to hold his nerve as that missed red proved costly.

Bingham has now moved up to number 15 on the world one-year rankings list and has secured qualification for next week’s World Grand Prix at the same Milton Keynes venue.

He’s thinking ahead of the final event of the calendar year, however, and says maintaining his spot in the world’s top 16 is his number one priority ahead of April’s World Championship at the Crucible.

The six-time ranking event winner added: “I think I’m in the 16 now. I’m not looking at the Grand Prix and I’m looking at the end of the year.

“I want to get deep in tournaments, so I’m looking at the World Championship. I’m trying to go deep in tournaments to try and secure my place in the 16 for that.”

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