ALAN McManus is relishing being the last Scot standing at this year's Dafabet World Championship.
The Glaswegian stunned compatriot and four-time world champion John Higgins with a fine first round win in Sheffield and this afternoon returns to the table to take on Irishman Ken Doherty in what promises to be a mouthwatering clash of the golden oldies.
Victory for McManus would secure a place in his first Crucible quarter-final for nine years.
"I never thought I'd be the last Scot standing, I can guarantee you that," said McManus. "I bet that would have been a big price with the bookies before all of us [the Scots] had played.
"Stephen Maguire got knocked out early and then Jamie Burnett, unfortunately, got knocked out as well. I've beaten John [Higgins], so it's now down to me. I'll just keep going and keep trying my best.
"I wouldn't go as far as to say it's the weight of a nation on my shoulders, but it's a nice feeling to be the last Scot standing. The Scottish snooker public love it when we do well, we're a proud nation. They've had a lot of great champions, although I don't include myself in that group.
McManus sported a pair of natty tartan trousers when beating Higgins earlier in the wee and the 43-year-old, twice a Crucible semi-finalist, will be wearing them again because they've brought him good luck so far at snooker's spiritual home.
"Maybe the tartan trousers are bringing me a little bit of luck," said McManus. Us 40 somethings are having a go. I thought Ken was fantastic against Stuart Bingham [in his first-round win], so I think the next game between us could be a real cracker. Let's get it on.
"It could be a really close one, but who knows. But I know Ken is playing well, because to beat Stuart is a great result because he is one of the best players in the world now.
"But I'm old enough to know that I've got to go out there and just play my game and not worry about what round it is. I'll worry about that afterwards. I was in the practice room with Ken the other day and we were having a laugh about still playing and how it feels so different every time you play. The pair of us have been around a while."
Interesingly, the duo last played each other in the second round at the Crucible nearly a decade ago with McManus a 13-11 winner in 2005. A decade earlier in 1994, Doherty had prevailed 13-11 in the same round in Sheffield.
Looking ahead to the match, Dubliner Doherty, the 1997 world champion, said: "Alan has got bags of experience. Him, John Higgins and Steve Davis are probably the most intelligent players and toughest match players I've ever played.
"Alan is very grounded and he's got a very solid all-round game. That showed when he beat John Higgins.
"He's one of my toughest adversaries I've encountered in the 20-odd years I've been playing. It's going to be a tough match, but one which I'm sure we'll both enjoy."