Scottish snooker star John Higgins believes he can still reach the heights of his previous triumphs and become world champion again when he arrives at the Crucible this weekend.
The four-time winner will take part in his 29th consecutive World Snooker Championship that kicks off at the in Sheffield on Saturday.
The 47-year-old from Wishaw, who first won the world title in 1998, is raring to go and as excited as ever for the big event that he believes he can win for a fifth time if he hits top form at the right time.
He told STV: “This week is a special week leading up to it, the nerves are jangling already and I can’t wait to get down there and play.
“When you go down there it feels special to be a snooker player.
“This season has been a tough season and I haven’t competed in a lot of the big tournaments, but I managed to win a smaller event last month so that’s gave me a little bit of a gee up and I feel my game is coming together at the best time.”
Higgins made his debut at the world championships at the age of 19 and has since won the tournament four times; in 1998, 2007, 2009 and 2011.
He is confident he can roll back the years and get his hands on the trophy again – despite admitting the standard is “higher than ever before”.
He said: “I think I am still good enough to win it, it’s a long 17 days and it takes a lot out of you, but if I hit my best form for those 17 days then I think I can win it.
“The standard is higher that it’s ever been, without a doubt, you can look at some of the players.
“In the past you had [Steve] Davis and [Stephen] Hendry, but I just think when you look at the standard throughout and the level the guys are playing at, then it’s without doubt the highest it’s ever been.”
The lifelong Celtic fan, who has also won three British championships and two Masters titles, turns 48 next month, but remains on track to continue into his 50s.
He said: “If your eyesight can stay healthy and you still have a certain amount of desire to come in and practice then I can’t see why you can’t play on past 50.”
And, just like in 1998, he would love to bring the trophy back to Celtic Park and celebrate another triumph with 60,000 fans in the east end of Glasgow.
He credits the success of the Hoops under Ange Postecoglou as one of the reasons he his feeling confident ahead of the championships.
He said: “Ange Postecoglou has been amazing for the club he has come in and everybody just loves him, so for as long as he stays at Celtic I think we can look forward to more games like the weekend for, hopefully, years to come.
“That’s maybe why I am feeling so good just now.
“It would be a dream to be able to go and parade another world championship at Celtic Park and meet big Ange, that would be an amazing feeling.”