Sky Sports share class 1997 clip of Celtic legend Tommy Burns with Walter Smith

By Euan Davidson

October 27, 2021

The friendship between Celtic legend Tommy Burns and former Rangers manager Walter Smith is the stuff of legend.

They couldn’t have been more different. Smith, the childhood Rangers fan turned managerial idol. Tommy Burns, the fan who got lucky as he would put it, but a hugely talented player and coach who adored Celtic.

Yet, even in the height of their dugout rivalry, ahead of a crucial Old Firm Derby in 1997, Smith and Burns were interviewed together. Sky Sports asked them both for team news, injury updates and their feelings on the game ahead.

Hard to imagine nowadays, and even harder to imagine actually happening in the 90s. Yet, it did. And poignantly, they even joke about getting the next round in after the match was finished.

It was a game Rangers won 3-1, with some questionable refereeing decisions being made [Celtic Wiki]. Some things stay the same after all.

But the match aside, there’s a genuine warmth between Smith and Burns here. It’s no wonder the pair would join up for the national team around a decade later.

Both seem to be on the edge of laughter throughout. Again, try to imagine this happening since. A joint-interview with Martin O’Neill and Dick Advocaat. Or Gordon Strachan and Alex McLeish, Neil Lennon and Steven Gerrard. It would be surreal.

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Celtic fans, Rangers fans, everyone: Tommy Burns and Walter Smith clip met with adoration

For Rangers fans, you’re unlikely to get a bigger hero than Walter Smith in the modern era. Ditto for us and Tommy Burns, a man obsessed with winning matches for Celtic; a hilarious, passionate and faithful individual fans will always adore.

So, to see the pair of them enjoying a moment together has garnered nostalgia, sadness but also incredibly warm feelings towards the sadly departed pair.

Fans of clubs across Scottish football shared their thoughts:

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