Celtic pay respect to former Rangers boss Walter Smith as they remember friendship with Tommy Burns

Smith and Burns forged a close friendship during their time with the national side

Celtic have paid “heartfelt condolences” to the family of Walter Smith after he sadly passed away aged 73 following a battle with illness.

The Ibrox giants are mourning the loss of one of their most iconic managers in the club’s history following the announcement of his death on Tuesday morning.

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The news has seen an outpouring from across the football world, with tributes being paid to one of Scottish football’s most successful and respected figures.

Smith was a thorn in Celtic’s side for many years, but the Hoops praised his bravery and remembered the close friendship he forged with the late Tommy Burns.

Burns was appointed as assistant manager to Smith when he became Scotland manager in 2004, and Smith was a pallbearer at Burns’ funeral in 2008.

A statement on Celtic’s official website said: “Celtic Football Club has expressed its deepest sympathies following the sad new that former Rangers and Scotland manager Walter Smith has passed away after battling illness so bravely.

“Clearly, this is absolutely devastating news and our thoughts and prayers are very much with Walter’s wife, children and wider family at this very sad time.

“Walter was a tremendous servant to Scottish football for so many years, and during his time as manager of the Scotland national side, he forged a close friendship with Celtic legend, Tommy Burns, who was part of the coaching set-up.

“Everyone at Celtic sends their heartfelt condolences.”

Several former Celtic icons have echoed their condolences on social media: