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Ex-Kilmarnock stars pay tribute to "incredible human being" Tommy Burns


Ray Montgomerie has described Tommy Burns as an “incredible human being” after the 10th anniversary of the Kilmarnock legend’s death.

Burns played 174 times for Kilmarnock, scoring 21 goals, before becoming manager in 1992.

Killie were operating in the First Division when Burns succeeded Jim Fleeting at Rugby Park — and he led the team to promotion back to the top flight in 1993 where they have remained ever since.

Montgomerie was the captain under Burns at Rugby Park and has nothing but fond memories of his former boss.

Ray Montgomerie

He said: “He was a one-off — an incredible human being.

“I never encountered a manager before or after him who was as good in terms of his man-management and the way he treated you — he stood alone in that respect.

“And he set the foundations for where Kilmarnock are now, after 25 years in the top flight of Scottish football.”

Montgomerie’s former team-mate Gus MacPherson also paid tribute to his former boss and says Burns helped his team develop a work-rate that was “second to none”.

MacPherson said: “His transition into management seemed to be seamless. He moved me from right-back to central midfield to give him the protection and do all his running for him!

“But he made changes right away because he knew the players and the way he wanted to play.

“What shouldn’t be forgotten is that he got us promoted, but then managed to keep us in the top flight too and Kilmarnock have been there ever since.

“It would have been very easy to go straight back down. In the First Division, Raith Rovers finished around 10 points ahead of us at the top of the league but were relegated the following season.

Queen’s Park boss Gus MacPherson

“The work rate in that team was second to none. And that all came from Tommy and Billy Stark.”

Burns eventually left Kilmarnock for Celtic in 1994 but is loved by fans at Rugby Park to this day — and MacPherson believes the feeling was mutual.

He added: “There was no doubt that Tommy developed a great affection for the club.

“When he eventually did leave Kilmarnock for Celtic, I think he was on record as saying it was the only club he’d have left for.

“I’m sure he would have said how much he enjoyed his time at Kilmarnock.”



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