John Higgins blames Ronnie O'Sullivan for criticism at Scottish Open

John Higgins blames Ronnie O’Sullivan for criticism at Scottish Open

John Higgins insisted that Ronnie O’Sullivan was to blame for the criticism aimed towards the Wizard of Wishaw in recent years. The 48-year-old defeated Tom Ford 5-3 at the Scottish Open quarter-finals with a battling performance, having fought off a comeback to book his place in the final four of the tournament.

Higgins’ form has taken a dip over the past two years, a criticism often levelled against the five-time World Snooker Championship winner, as O’Sullivan feels that his rival has not been able to scrape wins when he is not performing to his highest standard. Higgins showed his grit against Ford, as his lead threatened to get away from him.

Higgins powered ahead early to move into a commanding 3-0 lead, but missed a simple red in the fourth frame and the match began to go in Ford’s favour. The 40-year-old fought back to 3-3, but Higgins recovered to win the final two frames and set up a semi-final against Noppon Saengkham.

O’Sullivan hopes that Higgins can show such resilience more often as he quizzed his rival after the match for Eurosport. He asked: “Feeling alright? You OK? I was just saying I always watch your matches and you seem like you’re flying and then you have a little match where you don’t play so well and you’ll lose.

“Whereas years ago you would win quite a high percentage of your matches at your best. I think to win tournaments you have to win matches like you did tonight, you can’t play well every match can you?”

However, Higgins felt that the only reason why such criticisms have been made against him is because he is constantly compared to O’Sullivan. The Rocket recently won the UK Championship and has shown no signs of slowing down, but Higgins reminded him that is not the norm.

“I know, it’s just that we’re in the era that you’re playing in,” Higgins replied. “You’re obviously still winning the big events and I am getting judged on that.

“If he (O’Sullivan) is not around and I am still playing to this level and I am 48, people would be saying it’s a remarkable achievement but you’re up against this guy and in the same age group – a one-off. It’s difficult but I still feel that I am doing OK for who I am, so I am happy.”

Higgins’ only two titles since February 2021 have come in the Championship League but he has the opportunity to claim victory in Scotland. He is just two matches away from success, with either Gary Wilson or Zhou Yuelong waiting in the final for either Higgins or Saengkham.