Celtic's top 30 players - Number 23

Celtic Stands

We continue our countdown of the greatest 30 players to have turned out for the Bhoys.

Following on from 'Champagne' Charlie Nicholas at number 24, the number 23 spot on our countdown of the 30 greatest Celtic players goes to an outright club legend.

A Hoops fan from virtually the first moment he learned what football was, Tommy Burns lived out the schoolboy's dream of not only playing for his beloved club, but also going on to manage them after hanging up his boots.

He made his debut for the club in 1975 at the age of 18 and would go on to play 501 times for the club in nearly 15 years as a professional at Parkhead.

Blessed with a cultured left foot and also harbouring burning passion and a fiery temper, Burns was an instant fan favourite amongst the supporters who recognised that here was a rare player simply living the dream that they had all had in their youth.

As the 1970s turned into the 1980s, his play noticeably matured and he became a dependable regular in the midfield, as well as winning his debut senior cap for Scotland.

Burns turned down the opportunity to move to top English clubs on more than one occasion during his time at Parkhead, choosing instead to continue to fight for the cause for his beloved Hoops, and he recovered from an injury-prone couple of years to continue to perform to the highest level throughout the 1980s.

In 1987, at the age of 30, he was granted a testimonial against a Liverpool side led by his former teammate Kenny Dalglish, which was attended by some 42,000 Celtic fans who turned out to honour their hero.

With his playing time beginning to become limited at the end of the decade, Burns accepted a player-coach role at Kilmarnock in 1989, but within five years he was back in Glasgow, this time as manager.

Celtic had endured a dark few years when the former playing hero returned in 1994, but at the end of his first season in charge Burns led the Bhoys to their first trophy in six years with triumph in the Scottish Cup.

That was to be his only trophy in three years at the helm before retiring, but despite his lack of success as a manager, Burns' death at the age of just 51 in 2008 was a crushing blow to anyone related to Celtic.

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