McManus and Higgins go head to head in Scottish Open showdown

Alan McManus will face fellow Scot John Higgins at the Emirates Arena on Monday. (pic courtesy of World Snooker)

Alan McManus will face fellow Scot John Higgins at the Emirates Arena on Monday. (pic courtesy of World Snooker)

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Alan McManus will face fellow Scot John Higgins in the opening round of Scotland’s new showpiece snooker tournament next week.

The 45-year-old Bearsden player will take on the four-time world champion in the opening round of the Scottish Open which is being held at the Emirates Arena next week.

The mouth-watering encounter will take place on Monday at 1pm.

Higgins currently leads 12-10 in the head-to-head between the two, but it was McManus who won the most recent match between the two, an epic World Championship quarter-final earlier this year which saw him come from 11-9 down to win the final four frames and the match 13-11.

The event will feature 128 of the world’s top players and is part of the new Home Nations quartet of tournaments, alongside the English Open, Irish Open and Welsh Open. Any player who wins all four events will receive a massive £1 million bonus.

Higgins said he was delighted to see a ranking tournament being played in Scotland for the first time since 2010.

He said: “It has been a long time coming.

“I hope we get good crowds. I think we will because there will be 128 players there and the fans can see so many of the best on a single day.

“In recent years we’ve had a lot more tournaments on the calendar and there should be one in Scotland because of the support for snooker here.”

Higgins continued: “I know sometimes players feel under more pressure playing in front of their home crowd – the Welsh boys have faced that at the Welsh Open.

“So hopefully myself and the other Scots can do well and go a long way in the event. For us it’s a chance to play in front of our friends and family and all of our supporters.”

Higgins believes the potential £1 million bonus for a Home Nations clean sweep will be a huge added incentive for snooker’s top potters.

“To win all four would be very difficult, you could compare it to Novak Djokovic or Tiger Woods trying to win all four Grand Slam events in tennis or golf,” said Wizard of Wishaw Higgins.

“It’s a fantastic thing to aim for and you can imagine the hype around the Scottish Open if someone were to win the first two events. They would be under so much pressure.

“I’m sure every top player will look at that potential £1 million bonus and want to have a go.”

So far the 2016/17 season has seen the four-time world champion Higgins return to the peak of his form. He scored back-to-back titles at the China Championship and the Champion of Champions and made his eighth career 147 at the Coral Northern Ireland Open in Belfast.

World number four Judd Trump will headline next Monday’s evening session as he faces China’s Zhang Yong.

Ronnie O’Sullivan opens his campaign on the Tuesday afternoon with a tough test against world number 29 Matthew Selt.

Scottish eyes will also be trained on Stephen Maguire’s first round tie with talented Chinese cueman Zhou Yuelong on Tuesday evening.

Tickets are on sale now but fans are urged to book quickly as demand will be high and certain sessions are expected to sell out quickly.

For more details call 0141 353 8000 or visit www.worldsnooker.com/tickets.