Celtic FC legend dies aged 51

The Celtic legend Tommy Burns has died after a battle with cancer, the club said today.

It was announced last month that Burns, 51, who was first diagnosed with skin cancer in 2006, was facing a new battle against the disease.

Former Scotland international Burns was an ex-manager of Celtic and had been a long-serving player with the Glasgow club.

He was also assistant to former Scotland managers Berti Vogts and Walter Smith.

In a statement the club said: "It is with great sadness that Celtic Football Club confirmed this morning that Tommy Burns has passed away.

"Tommy, a true Celtic legend and wonderful man will be sadly missed by us all. "Clearly, our thoughts are very much with Tommy's wife Rosemary and his family at this extremely difficult time."

The club said he died this morning at home.

Glasgow-born Burns spent the bulk of his career at Celtic, joining the club as a teenage player before leaving in 1989, aged 32, to join Kilmarnock where he later became the club's player-manager.

Burns returned to Celtic in 1994 as Lou Macari's successor in the manager's seat.

He was sacked in 1997 and later had an 18-month spell as manager of Reading.

His next job was with the Celtic youth academy and in 2002 he also took on a part-time role with Scotland under Vogts.

He remained in the role as assistant to Walter Smith, who was appointed after the German's unsuccessful time in charge was ended.

Scottish football rallied around the coach during Burns' first cancer scare, which kept him out of the game for part of a championship-winning season at Celtic.

He underwent surgery to remove two lumps from his leg in May 2006, before returning to the Celtic dug-out.

At the time, Burns talked of the possibility of the cancer returning.

He also expressed the hope that his case might make people take action against the growing problem of skin cancer.

Burns said at the time: "Men in general don't really examine their bodies, their moles and marks, especially in the west of Scotland - not that we get that much sun anyway."

Councillor Steven Purcell, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: "Scotland has lost one of its greatest footballing legends and one of its most decent and genuine men.

"One of my earliest memories of going to Celtic Park was of seeing Celtic greats like Tommy Burns.

"His brave battle against cancer over the years and his deep Christian faith has also been a deep inspiration to thousands.

"Tommy was unusual in that he crossed the footballing divide and was liked and respected by all football fans not just here in Glasgow but throughout Scotland and beyond.

"It's true when they say that only the good die young.

"Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this terribly sad time."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot