East Lothian Courier

Facing legends Higgins and Hendry ‘great’, says Muir

- By Cameron Ritchie critchie@eastlothia­ncourier.com thebrunton.

GOING toe-to-toe with two of snooker’s legends was “a great experience”, says Ross Muir.

The Musselburg­h potter faced four-time world champion John Higgins in qualifying for the World Open last Wednesday before taking on seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry the next day for a spot in the Welsh Open.

Higgins proved too strong for Muir in Barnsley, coming through 5-1, before Muir turned the tables on Hendry and won 4-2.

Muir said: “It was a great experience against two of the best Scottish players of all time.

“I think I never really performed too good, to be honest, overall because I have been working on a few technical things recently and they had not quite clicked for those games.

“The actual experience of playing the two was phenomenal.

“Growing up as a kid idolising both guys, it was a great thing to have done.

“Result-wise, I was not happy with the result against John.

“I did have some chances but did not quite take them.

“It was a well-below-par performanc­e against Stephen but still to get any win these days is a good win.

“I have taken a lot of things performanc­e wise and now I am working on them before the main part of the Welsh Open.”

Muir and Higgins are no strangers to one another, having become regular practice partners in recent years.

The former Musselburg­h Grammar School pupil was full of praise for Higgins, who was crowned world champion in 1998,

2007, 2009 and 2011.

He noted the profession­alism of the 48-year-old and his desire on both the practice table and the competitiv­e circuit.

Speaking on Monday, Muir said: “It can be tough because you know exactly what their strengths are.

“For John, because I know there are not really any weaknesses, you always know what you are going to face and how good John is.

“When you get chances, any chances, you always know it is going to be tough.

“He continued his good run of form when I practised

with him yesterday!

“He is a phenomenal player and such a great guy.

“He has been sharing things with me over the year or so we have been practising together more frequently.

“He is a great guy and deserves all the success he has had.

“He works so hard at his game and some of that has rubbed off on me.

“It has made me realise the level that I need to get to to take the next step.

“He is two or three ahead of me from that side of things.”

Muir and Hendry shared

the opening four frames in Barnsley before the county sportsman picked up the next two frames to progress.

Victory set up a secondroun­d encounter with England’s Matthew Selt in Llandudno later this month.

The 28-year-old was quick to stress he was far from his best in his encounter with Hendry, who last won the world title in 1999.

He told Courier Sport: “The performanc­e was not great but take nothing away, he is still a good player.

“He can score well and he can still take opportunit­ies.

“It is still a good win as he won two frames during the match – it was not a walkover.

“He is still playing to a great standard.”

Higgins and Hendry, meanwhile, are playing each other in. . . Haddington!

‘An Evening with Snooker Greats: Clash of The Titans’, takes place in the Corn Exchange on March 26 – and will be refereed by 1985 world champion Dennis Taylor.

As well as taking to the green baize, the players will also take part in a Q&A. Visit co.uk for ticket details.

 ?? ?? Ross Muir faced John Higgins (top left, image: Mike Egerton/pa Wire) and Stephen Hendry (bottom left)
Ross Muir faced John Higgins (top left, image: Mike Egerton/pa Wire) and Stephen Hendry (bottom left)

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