The 1986 world champion is a strong admirer of Higgins and has praised him as one of the game’s greats during his work as an analyst for Eurosport, but apparently felt that Higgins had been "searching for something that is not there" and "looking for someone or something to blame" this season.
Higgins seemed to agree with such as assertion after his win over fellow Scot Burnett that he has been struggling for form. He has changed his cue for a second time this season, and is chasing a fourth UK title to go with his four World Championship titles.
He described his performance as "continually s***” against Burnett but strangely turned his attention to Johnson, who produced one of the game’s greatest upsets in beating Steve Davis 18-12 to claim the world title in 1986 before losing to ‘The Nugget’ in the final a year later.
"The table's so tight," said Higgins, whose highest break was 92 in reaching the last 16. “That's twice I've played on that table and it's so tight.
"The old players would never have made 10 or 20. They're probably sitting there watching and giving you dog's abuse and they'll be saying it on camera.
"But when you see the buckets they used to play in in the 80s, these guys couldn't make 30 or 40.
"We're struggling big time. There are still record breaks and everything but I can just imagine what some of the older players are saying.
"I heard before the tournament Joe Johnson was slating me. If that guy isn't the worst commentator in the world, he's in the top three.
"How he ever got to be world champion, and he can say some of the shots that he does say...
"That game wasn't even on TV, thank God, but I can just imagine what they're all saying."
Judd Trump had no such problems with the tables as he knocked in three centuries (103, 102 and 133) on his way to a 6-2 win over Xiao Guodong, who made two tons of his own, that helped him into the last 16.
Stephen Maguire edged Liang Wenbo 6-5 to set up a meeting with Higgins on Tuesday.
Ronnie O'Sullivan completed a 6-3 win over Adam Duffy to join Higgins in the last 32 before hinting at another break from the game.
He said: "My goal is to get enough prize money so I can take another break from snooker. I can have a holiday, sit at home and chill again, which is great."
Mark Selby beat China's Tian Pengfei 6-3 while world number one Neil Robertson was never tested in a 6-1 win over Robbie Williams.
O'Sullivan will face Marcus Campbell in the third round with Trump meeting Michael Holt or Mark Allen for a place in the quarter-finals.
Third round (last 32) results
Liang Wenbo (Chn) 5-6 Stephen Maguire (Sco)
Graeme Dott (Sco) 6-3 Ali Carter (Eng)
Judd Trump (Eng) 6-2 Xiao Guodong (Chn)
Jamie Burnett (Sco) 4-6 John Higgins (Sco)
Noppon Saengkham (Tha) 2-6 Shaun Murphy (Eng)
Scott Donaldson (Sco) 3-6 Joe Perry (Eng)
Stuart Bingham (Eng) 6-2 Anthony McGill (Sco)
Gary Wilson (Eng) 4-6 Barry Hawkins (Eng)
Second round (last 64) results
Adam Duffy (Eng) 3-6 Ronnie O'Sullivan (Eng)
Mark Selby (Eng) 6-3 Tian Pengfei (Chn)
Neil Robertson (Aus) 6-1 Robbie Williams (Eng)
Mitchell Travis (Eng) 6-4 Kurt Maflin (Nor)
Peter Lines (Eng) 2-6 Ricky Walden (Eng)
Mark Davis (Eng) 5-6 Scott Donaldson (Sco)
Luca Brecel (Bel) 5-6 Stephen Maguire (Sco)
Yu De Lu (Chn) 5-6 Matthew Stevens (Wal)
Andrew Higginson (Eng) 4-6 Li Hang (Chn)
Jamie Burnett (Sco) 6-5 Chris Wakelin (Eng)
Chris Norbury (Eng) 0-6 Anthony McGill (Sco)
Stuart Bingham (Eng) 6-2 Jimmy White (Eng)
Rory McLeod (Eng) 3-6 Mark Williams (Wal)
Judd Trump (Eng) 6-0 Dechawat Poomjaeng (Tha)
Liu Chuang (Chn) 5-6 Robert Milkins (Eng)
Rod Lawler (Eng) 1-6 John Higgins (Sco)
Mark Allen (NI) 6-3 Dave Harold (Eng)
Joe Perry (Eng) 6-3 Daniel Wells (Wal)
James Wattana (Tha) 1-6 Ding Junhui (Chn)
John J Astley (Eng) 1-6 Stuart Carrington (Eng)
Graeme Dott (Sco) 6-5 Nigel Bond (Eng)
Ali Carter (Eng) 6-0 Jimmy Robertson (Eng)
Gary Wilson (Eng) 6-3 Vinnie Calabrese (Aus)
Zhang Anda (Chn) 3-6 Barry Hawkins (Eng)
Sean O'Sullivan (Eng) 4-6 Noppon Saengkham (Tha)
Paul S Davison (Eng) 3-6 Shaun Murphy (Eng)
Xiao Guodong (Chn) 6-2 Jamie O'Neill (Eng)
Peter Ebdon (Eng) 1-6 David Morris (Ire)
Michael Holt (Eng) 6-4 Alan McManus (Sco)
Michael White (Wal) 4-6 Marcus Campbell (Sco)
Michael Leslie (Sco) 3-6 Liang Wenbo (Chn)
Fergal O'Brien (Ire) 6-3 Mark King (Eng)