Proud Scot John Higgins has slammed the BBC for mistaking him for ENGLISH at the Betfred World Championship.
The host broadcaster inexplicably placed an England flag alongside the Scottish all-time great’s name in a pre-match graphic for his first-round match with Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.
Wishaw Wizard Higgins kicked off his bid for a magical fifth Crucible crown with a decent 10-7 win over the talented Thai potter.
And when shown the embarrassing flag gaffe, which was shown on live TV, Higgins almost cost himself a £250 quid fine for swearing.
“England?!” Exclaimed shocked Scot Higgins. “Am I allowed to swear?
“God, they better get that changed soon.
“That’s poor isn’t it? That’s really poor from the BBC, very poor.”
Higgins resumed 5-4 down after the first session on Tuesday.
The all-conquering veteran left himself feeling “numb” after a potentially crucial mistake, when he went in-off the black, allowed Thepchaiya to close to 8-7.
Higgins, 46, used all of his experience to come through a tricky Thai test.
“I didn’t lose any sleep at being 5-4 behind overnight,” stressed Higgins, hit breaks of 128, 106, 100, 98, 75, 65 and 53 in a sharp first-round showing.
“I hope Jamie doesn’t mind me saying it but I had my Jamie Burnett moment when I screwed in off the black.
“At that moment I felt number. It was as if someone came and took me out of my own body.
“That’s when some crazy thoughts go through your mind and you wonder if you’re still playing this game anymore.
“I’m delighted I stood up a little bit at the end there to get through.” Meanwhile, snooker supreme Barry Hearn has challenged the city of Sheffield to build a purpose-built bigger venue to host the World Championship.
The current Crucible deal ends in 2027, which coincides with the 50th anniversary of the snooker spectacle at the famous theater.
Former champion Neil Robertson proposed having TWO venues in Sheffield so every match could be played in a one-table environment.
But Higgins rubbished that idea, which has been employed at Chinese events, and backed Hearn’s plan as it keeps the mystique of the unique challenge that is the green-baize game’s 17-day marathon.
Former world No 1 Judd Trump, the 2019 champion, as well as Scot Stephen Maguire and Mark Allen have led calls for the event to move because it’s “outgrown” the Crucible.
Get all the latest Sports news sent straight to your Inbox every day by signing up to our newsletter.
We cover every morsel of information regarding your favorite club in the form of articles, videos and podcasts.
The newsletter will arrive every day at 12pm, giving you a round up of the best stories we’ve covered that in the last 24 hours.
To sign up, simply enter your email address into the link here.
And if you aren’t already, make sure you join the conversation over on our Facebook groups and Record Sport Instagram.
But Higgins stressed: “I thought it was pie in the sky and thinking ‘what the hell is Neil talking about?’
“My thought is that if you’re having it in Sheffield then you should have it here.
“It brings its own uniqueness because you’re playing in cramped space, the crowd and everything about it.
“If you’re moving it you move it lock, stock and barrel I think to a purpose-built arena where you can fit the two tables in again. That’s what I would favour.
“The test of two tables is part of the World Championship.
“I think you would lose a lot if half of the tournament was played on one table and one on another.
“We’ve done it at the Shanghai Masters where you have one table in one arena and one in another.
“I don’t favor that at all. You’re all in one way or another.
“I’d love to see it stay in Sheffield because it’s the home of snooker really.”