Falkirk to open Kevin McAllister Stand with a friendly against Kilmarnock

Falkirk will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the club’s famous 1997 Scottish Cup run with a friendly against then opponents Kilmarnock, which will also see the grand opening of the Kevin McAllister Stand taking place on what is set to be a special day for everyone involved at the club.

By Ben Kearney
Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 5:08 pm
Updated Wednesday, 25th May 2022, 5:45 pm

The match will take place on Friday, June 24 and will be John McGlynn’s first outing as Bairns boss, facing the side who narrowly won the cup back in ‘97 through Paul Wright’s first-half goal.

‘Crunchie’, who was named Falkirk's player of the millennium, made over 350 appearances for the Bairns over four spells at the club and will be honoured by having the South Stand renamed.

Falkirk’s Chief Executive Officer Jamie Swinney said: “We are delighted to see all the work over the last years come to fruition. The club would like to say a big thanks to The Crunchie Initiative for all their hard work to make this possible.

Sign up to our daily The Falkirk Herald Today newsletter

"It is a fitting tribute to Falkirk’s player of the millennium, a player much loved by all Falkirk fans. We look forward to welcoming Kilmarnock to The Falkirk Stadium to kick off what will hopefully be a successful season for the club both on and off the park.”

The initiative, who recently raised over £4,000 for charity at a 1997 legends’ lock-in event, have campaigned for over two years to ensure Falkirk’s best ever player would be remembered for what he did for the club, as well as being able to raise funds for causes close to the Bairns supporter’s hearts.

Dave McInally, who leads the project admitted without the Falkirk fans backing, the renaming of the stand wouldn’t have been possible.

“The Crunchie Initiative campaign has been running for over two and a half years now so it feels crazy that we are now one month away from the renaming of the South Stand to the Kevin McAllister Stand,” he explained.

Kilmarnock won 3-1 against Falkirk last time the sides met, which was an SPFL Trust Trophy tie (Picture: Roddy Scott/SNS)

“Getting to the finishing line would not have occurred without the great support and contributions of the Falkirk fanbase. We may have had to endure some tough times recently but we know how to treat our own and, as always, I know they’ll turn up in large numbers on the day to show our appreciation of Falkirk’s greatest player.

"That is what this whole campaign has been about and we are delighted that the support will be able to give Crunchie the recognition that he is long overdue.

“We are thankful to the club for their assistance in helping to deliver this and we thank Kilmarnock for agreeing to play against us to mark the occasion. We’ve had some massive games against Kilmarnock in our recent history and this will be 25 years since we played them in the final of the Scottish Cup in 1997, where Kevin was unfortunate to be on the losing team.

"There will be familiar faces to Crunchie in either dugout too with his old coach Tony Docherty at Kilmarnock and his old team mate Paul Smith in the Falkirk technical area. Hopefully we’ll see a turn around in the result and this will help kick on a new era within the club where we see the emergence of other club legends.”

The friendly will mark the naming of the Kevin McAllister Stand (Pictures: Michael Gillen)

Former teammates of McAllister will be there on the night including ex-Bairns and Kilmarnock managers Alex Totten and Jim Jefferies. Scotland boss Steve Clarke, who played alongside the him at Chelsea is also hoping to make it along on the night.

Speaking about ‘Crunchie’, national team boss Steve Clarke added: “He did the dirty work, which was unusual for a winger. Not the biggest or strongest looking player but very tenacious. He was a good player, good quality.

"Kevin was a team player and did his job for the team. He was quick, direct, put the defender on the back foot, got at him and looked to get balls in the box. You had to be on your toes with Kevin, (he had) good Scottish wit, sharp and was well liked in the dressing room.

"Everybody liked Kevin McAllister which is a great testament to Kevin and his character.”