Tommy Burns (footballer): Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tommy Burns
Personal information
Full name Thomas Burns
Date of birth 16 December 1956(1956-12-16)
Place of birth    Glasgow, Scotland
Date of death    15 May 2008 (aged 51)
Place of death    Glasgow, Scotland
Playing position Midfielder
Youth career

Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
352 (52)
151 (16)
503 (68)   
National team
1981–1988 Scotland 008 0(0)
Teams managed

1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only.
* Appearances (Goals)

Thomas "Tommy" Burns (16 December 1956 – 15 May 2008) was a Scottish professional football player and manager. He was also a Scotland international, winning eight caps between 1981 and 1988, while a Celtic player. In 2006 he was diagnosed with skin cancer which, despite a brief recovery, he succumbed to on 15 May 2008.




Playing Career

Although he started out as a goalkeeper for non-league side Benburb F.C., Burns eventually became a midfielder, and was signed by Celtic in 1973 from his second club Maryhill, a junior team from Glasgow. He made his debut against Dundee United on 19 April 1975, and he was a vital part of the side which won the league and cup double in the club's centenary season, 1988. In total, he made 352 league appearances and scored 52 goals.


The following year, Burns moved to Kilmarnock, where he became player-manager in 1992, winning the club promotion to the Scottish Premier Division in season 1992/93.

Burns moved to become manager at Celtic at the start of season 1994/95, in acrimonious circumstances as he was still under contract to Kilmarnock as both player and manager. Kilmarnock refused to release him from his contract and the Scottish Football Association subsequently fined Celtic £100,000 for 'tapping', or speaking to Burns without obtaining Kilmarnock's permission. Kilmarnock were also permitted to retain his playing registration, effectively ending his professional career as a player.

At Celtic, his team grew a reputation for playing attractive and attacking football and they won the Scottish Cup in 1995;[1] but Celtic proved unable to break the domination of Old Firm rivals Rangers. Burns was sacked from Celtic in 1997 and went on to work under Kenny Dalglish at Newcastle United.

On 25 March 1998, he was appointed manager of Reading, who were struggling in Division One in what was their final season at Elm Park before the relocation to Madejski Stadium. He remained in this position until 16 September 1999, when he was dismissed following Reading's failure to win promotion from Division Two. [1]

He became assistant manager of the Scottish national team under Berti Vogts in 2002 and retained the position under Walter Smith. In between, he managed Scotland for one match, a 4–1 friendly defeat to Sweden.[2] He returned to Celtic for a third time when Martin O'Neill placed him in charge of youth development. Upon the arrival of Gordon Strachan as manager in 2005, Burns was appointed First Team Coach, a role he combined with his Youth Development post.

On 18 January 2007, Burns announced through Celtic's official website that he was severing all ties with the Scottish national team to concentrate on his role at the club. It was reported that Burns had found out that he was not a potential candidate for the job of national team coach.[3].

Illness and death

On 29 March 2006, Celtic confirmed Burns had begun treatment for melanoma skin cancer.[4] On 10 March 2008, Celtic announced that Burns was facing another skin cancer scare, and would be undergoing further treatment for the disease. [5] On 15 May 2008, Burns died at home.[6 ] His funeral mass was celebrated at St Mary's, Abercromby Street (the church in whose hall was held the inaugural meeting of what was to become Celtic FC) in his native Calton on 20 May 2008 followed by interment at Linn Cemetery Castlemilk.


Celtic manager Gordon Strachan was among those those who paid tribute to Burns. A visibly emotional Strachan said "being Tommy's mate was the best part of joining Celtic" and that "There weren't many better than him as a footballer. But, as a person, he was top of the league when it comes to being a man."[7 ] Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell said "If you define a Celtic man, it would certainly be Tommy Burns. He was a wonderful human being."[7 ] Club captain Stephen McManus said "He was courageous and he was probably as brave a man as you'll ever meet."[7 ] Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist, who had worked with Burns in his role for the Scotland national team, said "I have met a lot of good people through football but Tam was the very best."[8] On 16 May, Rangers manager Walter Smith and McCoist arrived at Celtic Park to lay a wreath in memory of Burns, and then spent half an hour in the stadium, speaking with Celtic officials, then another half hour outside speaking to fans. Smith and McCoist also served as pallbearers at Burns' funeral.[9]

Tribute match

A tribute match was held on 31 May 2009, between the current Celtic squad and an Old Bhoys XI, which was captained by Burns' son Jonathan; the current squad won 11–4.

The band Charlie and the Bhoys raised just under £10,000 for The Tommy Burns Skin Cancer Trust set up in his memory by playing a benefit concert at Glasgow Barrowlands in September 2008.

Playing honours



Managerial honours




External links


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address