Burns, a former player for the club, was appointed less than 24 hours after resigning as the manager of Kilmarnock, but the move is certain to put Celtic on a collision course with Kilmarnock and the Scottish League.
The Ayrshire club have retained Burns' registration and are seeking compensation for the loss of their manager, but Fergus McCann, the managing director of Celtic, said: 'We don't see any reason for giving Kilmarnock compensation. We have checked the rules and are not in breach of any.'
Kilmarnock have different views, however, and have reported Celtic to the Scottish League. Their chairman, Bobby Fleeting, said: 'I have never experienced anything like this before. We will retain Tommy's registration and his contract as manager until we are paid considerable compensation by Celtic.'
Kilmarnock have responded to Celtic's refusal to pay compensation by claiming that Burns was approached illegally by Fergus McCann on 1 July, while Burns was still manager of Kilmarnock. It is also alleged that Burns was approached by Celtic's Tommy Craig on 16 June to establish whether he wanted the job.
It is likely that Burns will take Billy Stark, his assistant at Kilmarnock, with him.
Motherwell will today name Alex McLeish, the Aberdeen veteran, as their new manager to replace Tommy McLean, who left for Hearts last month.Reuse content