Snooker legend John Higgins made his Celtic Park bow on the day the Bhoys stopped Rangers doing 10-in-a-row in 1998.
The ‘Wizard of Wishaw’ was fresh from winning his first Crucible title the week prior.
As World Champion, Higgins paraded the trophy to a jam-packed Celtic Park.
However, the Celtic Park bow Higgins had dreamed of since boyhood nearly never took place.
In an interview with Ex-Celtic Simon Ferry, Higgins told how he was due to play on the day Celtic played for the title.
The Scot initially refused Celtic’s request for him to parade his trophy, due to his contractual obligation to play a league match in Exeter.
However, he revealed his brother took control of the situation and phoned Barry Hearn at Matchroom Sport to bail him out.
“My brother took the phone and told Barry that ‘This is Celtic. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Higgins explained.
“Barry wasn’t happy and said I would be in breach of contract. My brother told him I was world champ and would play two games on the Sunday if need be.
“However I was going to Celtic Park on the Sunday.”
The Snooker legend revealed the agonising wait before Hearn called back, agreeing to his demands.
Higgins then went on to take his place in one of the most important days in Celtic’s history.
Celtic defeated St Johnstone 2-0 to win their first league title since 1988.
Celtic would have to wait three years before winning another league title. Higgins waited nine years before becoming a multiple world champion.
However, he will always remember his first more fondly than most, because it coincided with Celtic’s big victory.
Stalling for time?
Higgins has been unable to capture his fifth world title, despite losing the last two Crucible finals.
However, is fate merely delaying the inevitable?
What would be more fitting than if Celtic clinch 10-in-a-row themselves, that Higgins wins at the Crucible the week prior?
He may play the 2021 World Championships with a spring in his step.