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16 October 2014

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John Higgins wins snooker world championship 1998

John Higgins

© SNSpix

Higgins achieved his greatest ambition in snooker in 1998 when he won the Embassy World Championship. He beat Ken Doherty 18-12 in the final and that victory also gave him the world number one spot, which he held on to for two seasons. In 2001 he was back in the final at the Crucible but his hopes of regaining the world crown were dashed by O'sullivan, who ran out an 18-14 winner.

Twice a UK champion, Higgins boasts a total of 15 ranking event titles and started the 2004-05 season tied third on the all-time list, level with Ronnie O'sullivan and Mark Williams and behind Stephen Hendry (35) and Steve Davis (28).

But the career of the unassuming Scot has hit some dips before his triumphant return to form in 2005. In 2004 he said: "I'm very disappointed in the way I've played in the last couple of years."
Higgins himself has suggested that his loss of form was due to the birth of his son Pierce affecting his focus.

He added: "I might have to see a sports psychologist because my concentration is not good enough. When you are not winning your confidence goes and you start to doubt yourself. Sometimes it can be an easy game but it was horrible, it was torture."

The former St. Aidens High School pupil has a very down-to-earth lifestyle. The father of one married his childhood sweetheart Denise, and his biggest joy is going to see his beloved Celtic.

John Higgins at Celtic Park

© SNSpix

Higgins, who began playing snooker as a nine year old and would miss school to go to the local snooker hall to practise, spends five hours daily at the table. In the past he would miss practice to go and watch Celtic but with his club's dominance over most teams they face, he now spends Saturday afternoons at the table also.

The unassuming player has admitted that despite being world champion in his sport he could walk down the street without being recognised. He has said: "People might think I'm a well-known sportsman but, unless I stroll down the street in a dickie-bow and a waistcoat, very few people will recognise me."

Written by: Gordon Cairns

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