The Wishaw potter, who has won the title twice, lost 4-2 to the fluent world No 14, who constructed breaks of 95 and 84 to book his place in the quarter-finals in Glasgow’s Emirates Arena.
But it wasn’t an evening without joy for the world No 5, who usurped Stephen Hendry’s 775 career century breaks with a typically fluent 109 to place him second in the all-time list behind Ronnie O’Sullivan.
While Higgins was inevitably disappointed to have his wait for the trophy – named after Hendry – on home soil extended further, he couldn’t speak highly enough of his precocious opponent.
“Everybody knows how exciting a talent Jack is – he’s got every shot in the book and it was just one of those things tonight. He’s certainly got all the talent in the world,” the 44-year-old said.
“The next generation of snooker is certainly in good hands. If Jack can start to make a breakthrough in a tournament, and that could be this week as he’s certainly playing well enough, then that could open the floodgates for him confidence-wise.
“I hope that happens for him as he’s a nice boy, so I hope he does do well.
“You would obviously love to try to do well here, and you want to get through to the quarter-finals which is where it starts to feel like you’re doing well, but Jack played a great game.
“It would have been amazing to win the trophy here for the first time in over 20 years. If you asked anyone that they’d say that and it’s one of the biggest achievements you can have.”
It was an evening to remember, however, for Scott Donaldson who reached his maiden 19.com Scottish Open quarter-final with a polished 4-2 victory over Chinese player Zhang Jiankang.
The Perth player found some of his most consistent form under the Emirates Arena lights, compiling a third-frame break of 96 to place himself only three wins away from a memorable crowning glory.
The world No 26, who prior to this year had never progressed past the second round at the event, was visibly ecstatic, yet grounded, about booking his place in the last eight.
“I’m buzzing. To get to the quarter-finals and the two-table set-up in my home tournament is brilliant, so I’m absolutely delighted,” the 25-year-old said.
“It’s ridiculous that I might be the last Scot left in the tournament as we’ve obviously got so many good players – John Higgins, Stephen Maguire – so if I’m the last one it will be unbelievable for me, especially given I’ve never got past the second round here.
“I’m not thinking about winning the trophy at all though – I’m just taking it one ball at a time, and whoever I play in the quarter-final will be feeling the same as me. The thought of lifting the trophy on Sunday is still miles away.”
Glasgow’s Graeme Dott was also in round four action against world champion Judd Trump last night, qualifying for the last 16 with a stunning 4-0 victory over recently-crowned Betway UK Championship winner Ding Junhui.
The world No 20 rolled back the years to topple the resurgent Ding, nullifying the 14-time ranking event winner’s exquisite cue ball control to march into yesterday evening’s session.
l Watch the Scottish Open live on Eurosport, Eurosport Player and Quest with studio analysis from Ronnie O’Sullivan and Jimmy White