• John Higgins on the Ball in the Algarve.

    World champion  John Higgins shrugged aside the disappointment of watching Celtic lose to Rangers by reaching the the semi-finals of the Sportingbet.com World Series of Snooker in Portugal.


    The 33-year-old Scot, who defeated Shaun Murphy to complete a Crucible hat-trick, came back from 2-0 down to beat six times world champion Steve Davis 5-2 at the Portimao Arena.

    It was a perfect end to a day which started badly when Hoops fan Higgins, accompanied by  his good pal, Rangers supporter Graeme Dott, took in the Old Firm clash in an Alvor pub.

    Higgins laughed : "It was tough watching Graeme going crazy when Rangers scored. It was not nice!"

    Higgins stepped into overdrive in the final three frames with breaks of 101, 93 and 57 and he said:

    "It was the first time I have picked up a cue since winning against Shaun so I was a little bit nervous but once I got back to 2-2 I played pretty well. It's always an occasion when you play Steve, he is such an ambassador and always applauds the current world champion when he walks into the arena. It's a lovely touch."

    Graeme Dott endured the fright of his life  before toppling 14-year-old wonder boy Luca Brecel 5-4  to secure a semi-final meeting with world championship runner-up Shaun Murphy.

    And  ex world champion Dott told the youngster, who followed  up Friday's  stunning 4-3 win over Jimmy White with a with a 5-3 victory over  another former world champion Ken Doherty   - that he can become a major star  if he steers clear of girls and beer!

    Dott  revealed: "I knew Luca was good but I did not realise he was that good.

    "He's the best player of that age I have seen - by a mile.

    "Put it this way, he's a million miles better than me when I was 14. He's just so calm and  hits the ball like an adult. He hits it with authority without hitting it hard. He cues the ball really well and is a really good player.

    "The whole point of a tournament like this is to find young players like Luca and hopefully, we will find more because, without doubt, he's going to be a player  - but he should stay away from girls and beer!

    "When I went 4-3 down I thought there was a chance I was going out of the tournament. It was a very good match."

    Murphy beat Mark Selby 5-4 with a clearance of 105 in the final frame to set up the clash against Dott.

    2008-9 World Series of Snooker Grand Finals Results and Scores