Tommy Burns deserved more as Celtic manager

Tommy Burns deserved so much more in his time as Celtic manager. A Decent goalkeeper and centre back would have helped greatly…

Tommy Burns Glasgow Celtic FC Manager 15 September 1996

The era under the management of Tommy Burns was one of the best times of my Celtic supporting life. We may not have been that successful, but the football we were treated to was a joy to behold and coming after such a bleak period in the club’s history it was very welcoming indeed.

Sure we were up against a decent, big spending Rangers side, but Tommy put together a side not only filled with quality, but a side who played the game the way it should be.

Ultimately in the end it wasn’t enough as one Scottish Cup was all Tommy had to show for his efforts during his three year spell as manager.

We got to witness some breathtaking talents in Paolo Di Canio, Andreas Thom, Jorge Cadete and Pierre Van Hoojidonk. Together they helped produce some of the finest football we’d ever seen inside Celtic Park for my generation.

Jorge Cadete Glasgow Celtic FC 17 October 1996

But despite that excellent firepower, the holy grail of the league title still eluded us, but not for the lack of trying.

Our problem in my view was the lack of quality in the goalkeeping and centre back department. In goal during Tommy’s time we had to rely on Gordon Marshall and Stewart Kerr between the sticks and neither were good enough. Ironically a certain Shay Given left the same summer Tommy was announced as manager.

In the centre of defence it was the likes of Malky McKay, John Hughes, Brian O’Neil and Alan Stubbs, but none despite being fully committed were deemed as top class.

A quality goalkeeper and defender would have done wonders in terms of winning the title. That was proved when Wim Jansen brought in Jonathan Gould and Marc Rieper the season after Tommy left, and look at how that turned out.

He also signed some Swedish fella but his name escapes me.


We can only imagine what would have been had we had a reliable goalkeeper and centre back to complement the quality we had on the attacking front during Tommy’s time in charge of Celtic.

Just an Ordinary Bhoy

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email

1 Comment

  1. Damian Gallagher on

    I have always said Tommy was cheated by the orcs financial doping. He played with a style that Ange also adopted and would not have lost his job but for the cheats from the other side of the river. This is why I believe that those titles should have been stripped,