Higgins remaining positive despite early Crucible exit

John Higgins. Picture by Monique Limbos

John Higgins. Picture by Monique Limbos

FOUR-TIMES world champion John Higgins believes his glory days are not over just yet despite suffering a first round exit in this year’s World Championship.

Higgins, who won the world title in 1998, 2007, 2009 and 2011, crashed out of this year’s event today losing 10-7 to fellow Scot Alan McManus.

The defeat brought the end to a disappointing season for Higgins whose only significant highlights were a run to the Wuxi Classic final at the start of the campaign and a PTC win in Bulgaria. Since then the world number nine has failed to reach the semi-finals of any event.

The last time Higgins picked up a major piece of silverware was in September 2012 when he produced a brilliant comeback to beat Judd Trump in the final.

Another stunning comeback looked on the cards earlier when Higgins fought back from 9-4 down to make it 9-7. It could have been 9-8 had he not missed a costly blue which allowed McManus back in to wrap up the match. A poor start from Higgins, which saw him trail 6-1 at one stage was to prove his downfall.

Despite defeat Higgins said he was confident there were more good days to come but admitted he will now have to be considered one of the sport’s journeyman players.

“It’s been a bad season but I’m a lot happier compared to last year,” he said.

“I think I’m playing better – that’s a crumb of comfort I can take. I feel as if there’s something there that I can work on. There’s been times when I’ve been sat here desolate, but I still think there’s some decent snooker left in me.

“I’m not one of the top players that’s challenging for events, I’m possibly a journeyman top 16 player now. The journeymen can have their day sometimes.”

Victory for McManus set up a last 16 tie with former world champion Ken Doherty who beat Stuart Bingham on Sunday.

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