On Friday night, a lasting tribute will be paid to Kevin McAllister at Falkirk.
A fan-led campaign to rename one of the stands at the Bairns’ ground will come to pass, opened and dedicated to the little winger before the team’s first pre-season friendly of the summer against Kilmarnock.
‘The Crunchie Initiative’ heralded McAllister’s playing contribution, undertaking two years of fundraising to install lasting recognition to “a hometown boy, a good guy, and simply a brilliant player who gave his heart and soul for the club”, organiser Dave McInally told The Scotsman. “He is the kind of guy who got you hooked on football – so entertaining to watch. Sublime. He never lost the ball, he beat players and put in crosses. He lit up the place.
“When we started our campaign, his was one name above all others – Crunchie. It’s rare to have such an outstanding candidate.”
Kilmarnock are the opponents for a celebratory evening, 25 years since they broke the heart of the winger and the Falkirk fans just like him in the Ibrox stands at the 1997 Scottish Cup final.
It was the closest ‘Crunchie’ came to claiming a top-level honour. He won the Challenge Cup with the Bairns and some trophies at Chelsea in Division Two. He was also runner-up in the 1993 League Cup final with Hibs, hopes scuppered by Ally McCoist’s late overhead-kick.
With no major awards or Scotland caps to show for a career which raised fans, mostly Falkirk’s, off their seats on a weekly basis, there will now be a legacy left at the south stand of the Falkirk Stadium.
“He didn’t have the success with Falkirk his talent was probably due – that’s no reflection on him, he played his heart out for the club,” added McInally. “His name will be there forever more. Not many players get to say that at their clubs.
“Hopefully this is a proud moment for him and his family and there’s a different outcome to 1997.”