SCOTT Donaldson is about to scratch a seven-year itch. The 25-year-old from Perth has been on the tour as a snooker professional since 2012 but this Wednesday will see him set foot within the Crucible Theatre for the first time. After six previous failures in qualifying, the in-form Scot showed his steel to battle past Craig Steadman, 1997 champion Ken Doherty and a last-frame decider against China’s Lu Ning to win his place on this historic Sheffield stage, which is to snooker what Wimbledon and Augusta National are to tennis and golf respectively.

“I’ve never even been to the Crucible, I always told myself I would never go unless I qualified,” said Donaldson. “So this is the first time I will ever have been in the building.

“Qualifying for the televised stages of the World Championships is incredibly difficult so it is not like I have been playing badly over the last few years,” added the World No 39. “But to finally get to the Crucible is crazy - it is something you are never sure you are going to be able to do so just to be able to walk in there for the first time is going to be something special for me.

“My dad is coming down and a few guys from the snooker club are coming down too. But I can’t get carried away. It is genuinely another snooker match for me, I have got business to do – that is how it is.”

“I can’t really pinpoint one Crucible theatre memory which I cherish the most but the final last year was quite incredible with John and Mark Williams. People always ask why those guys from the 1990s are still the guys to beat but the answer is simple, it is because they are still the best in the world. It isn’t a physical sport, it is a mentally draining sport, so people can play on a bit longer. But the younger guys have to up our levels, basically. “

With the tournament getting underway today, things don’t get much easier for Donaldson - who has landed a tough looking first rounder against England’s Kyren Wilson, ranked the eighth-best player in the world. But he too is in decent form, arriving in Sheffield fresh from picking up a £45,000 pay cheque for reaching the semi-finals of the China Open. That equalled his best ever result, and was the fourth time this year he has reached the quarter finals or better of one of the punishing 128-man draws on the world snooker tour.

Four-time champion Higgins - a beaten finalist in each of the last two years - Graeme Dott, Stephen Maguire and Anthony McGill are the other Scots still standing in the tournament which begins today and if it isn’t to be him Donaldson would love to see one of his countrymen crowned champion. No Scots have won a tournament on the tour ll year long.