Celtic and Burns desperate for success

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Tommy Burns is well aware of the importance of Celtic's Tennents Scottish Cup semi-final replay against Falkirk, of the First Division, at Ibrox tonight. The Celtic manager is desperate for his team to crown their season with only the second trophy in three years and save his managerial career in Glasgow.

Speculation is rife about Burns's future with a review of the "football department" by the chairman, Fergus McCann, due at the end of the season. Celtic have virtually lost their duel with Rangers for the league title and now only the cup can bring some silverware to the club this season.

Tom Boyd, the Celtic defender who lifted the trophy with Motherwell in 1991 and again with Celtic two years ago, says it is not a consolation prize.

"It won't be that if we win it, I can assure you. A major trophy like the Scottish Cup can never be described as that and there is a lot of history attached to the trophy and Celtic. The Scottish Cup final is the climax to the season and winning the cup can set you up for the summer and the following year. We all know what it would mean to the Celtic supporters," Boyd said.

What it might mean to Burns is more open to question with the portents suggesting that even delivering the trophy might not be enough to prevent a change of role at best for the 40-year-old former midfielder.

Burns has some decisions to make for his semi-final line-up with the new pounds 2.4m signing, Tommy Johnson, who marked his full debut in the 1-1 draw between the clubs 10 days ago with his first goal, likely to be fit again. Peter Grant and Malky Mackay are available after missing the first game through suspension while the captain, Paul McStay, is battling for fitness after a groin injury. Enrico Annoni is rated more doubtful.

Meanwhile Alex Totten, the Falkirk manager, has less to concern himself with - except the arguments that suggest a lower- division team never benefit from a second chance against the Old Firm in a cup-tie.

"Everybody says you don't get two bites at the cherry against the Old Firm but the fact is we must try and go one better than we did in the first match. I know we will have to be at our very best but I think we have a real chance of beating Celtic."

Totten will lean heavily again on the experience of the 33-year-old former England international Andy Gray, who excelled in the Ibrox atmosphere last week.

Comments