UK Championship 2014: Anthony McGill faces 'hero' John Higgins

Anthony McGill in action in York
Anthony McGill staged a comeback to defeat Nigel Bond in York
UK Championship, York Barbican
Dates: 25 November-9 December
Coverage: Watch live on BBC One, Two, Red Button, online, mobiles and BBC Sport app from 29 November.

Anthony McGill was able to deliver the old "Christmas came early" cliche with some justification after setting up a meeting with boyhood hero John Higgins.

The 23-year-old staged a comeback to defeat England's Nigel Bond 6-5 and now faces his fellow Scot in the UK Championship's last 16 in York.

"I cannot wait," McGill told BBC Sport. "I'm like a kid at Christmas.

"This is my early Christmas present - I get to play John, absolute icon. He was my favourite player growing up."

Four-time world champion Higgins defeated 2003 UK Championship winner Matthew Stevens 6-2.

John Higgins
"Anthony McGill is beginning to show the potential that we all knew he had up in Scotland and is going to be a top player for years to come."

"I have practiced a little bit with him but don't practice with him that much," said McGill.

"He's got everything. He's got bottle and a shot selection to die for.

"I know his results recently haven't been so great, but I certainly don't think he's on the decline at all.

"I think it is only a matter of time before he comes back to his best, but hopefully he leaves it a little bit longer."

McGill said it would be a "special day" for him to take on Higgins, who has won the UK Championship three times and was such a personal inspiration.

"I put him in the top three or four players ever and obviously, if a guy from 10 minutes down the road can do it, rightly or wrongly, you think that maybe you can do it," added the Scot.

John Higgins
Three-time UK champion John Higgins has had a recent slump in form

"There's a few young Scottish boys, of which I'm the eldest, on the tour and we all look up to John."

The 39-year-old Higgins had a lot of respect for his opponent, who is ranked 24 places behind him in 38th in the world and who is a regular practice partner for former world number six Alan McManus.

"He's beginning to show the potential that we all knew he had up in Scotland," said the former world champion.

"He is going to be a top player for years to come I think.

"He's got a good head on his shoulders and he's learning a lot from Alan.

"He is a tough player to play against."

Higgins was pleased with his own display against Welshman Stevens.

"I am a lot happier than the last few matches I've played," he added.

"It is going to get tougher as the rounds go by, but definitely my confidence is slowly getting better."

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