Kevin McAllister: Falkirk, Hibs and Chelsea winger to get fitting tribute in match for Crunchie

Falkirk’s player of the Millenium. The best player Scottish football veteran Alex Totten ever signed through 22 years of management. Chelsea, Hibs and three spells with his hometown team on his CV. A local hero. Yet not one Scotland cap nor major honour.

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.

Kevin McAllister runs at Kilmarnock's defence during the 1997 Scottish Cup Final, at Ibrox. The teams will meet again in the winger's honour in pre-season friendly at Falkirk on Friday night.

“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.”

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Falkirk Stadium's south stand will be re-named. (Picture: Michael Gillen)
McAllister played for Chelsea and Hibs around his spells with his hometown team.
Alex Totten (left) said McAllister was the best signing he ever made as a manager. (Picture: Michael Gillen)
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