Cast A Giant Shadow

Last updated : 18 October 2008 By Ed_ScottishFitba

Tommy Burns
"It was my most difficult period in football dealing with the loss of someone that close."
It is over five months since Celtic won the SPL title and manager Gordon Strachan has still not been able to celebrate their success. The shadow over the title win from the death of coach Tommy Burns just days before the win over Dundee United at Tannadice on the final night of the season has prevented Strachan from enjoying the fruits of his labours. Speaking in a video presentation at yesterday's annual general meeting, Strachan admitted: "It was my most difficult period in football dealing with the loss of someone that close. We had to deal with it and with the games coming fast and furious it helped in a way. I didn't think anyone would deal with it properly. There was a numb feeling at the time because of what happened the week previously. I enjoyed watching the players celebrating but couldn't get my mind around the whole day. I haven't really celebrated yet, my head was still numb from the previous week."

Celtic are not about to forget Burns in a hurry either and have announced plans to stage a charity game in his memory. Burns sadly lost his battle with skin cancer and the club want to stage a benefit game next May that will raise cash for charities nominated by Burns' family. The club are also considering an appropriate a lasting tribute for the former player, manager and coach. Chief executive Peter Lawwell said: "
I've spoken to the family and they are in the process of putting ideas together with regards to a charity named after Tommy for some form of melanoma support. We have said to please come to us for some form of donation or go to the charity fund. We then spoke about a benefit game and we are hoping that sometime in May that we would bring together a benefit match for Tommy, his family and their nominated charities. With regards to a longer-term memorial, we are looking at certain ideas but it's too early to give any indication of that at the moment."

The club's charitable work is not just linked to one game. Lawwell also laid out another ambition; a glamour charity game against top opposition at Dublin's Croke Park. He went on: "
What we would love to do - and there are clearly obstacles there - is to play in Dublin at Croke Park against top opposition and, we hope, benefit our own charity and other charities. That would be fantastic. The idea has been floated for the past couple of seasons, and we have been unable to pull it off but it's an ambition. It's something that would attract us."

Meanwhile, chairman John Reid announced other plans for supporting appropriate charitable work. He said "
There are three elements to Celtic - the footballing side, the business side and the charitable contributions and work which is done through the efforts of our supporters and everyone associated with us. That's the side I want to develop - and to do that, you have to set yourself some form of target. So why shouldn't we be the first club in Britain to say we will raise, from our charitable work, 0.7 per cent equivalent of the turnover of the club? We will do that separately - it's not the easy way out of saying the club will pay for us - we will raise it as supporters, shareholders and so on through our own efforts."

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