Kevin McAllister: Falkirk hero admits stand honour a 'surreal' experience

Falkirk legend Kevin McAllister admits having the South Stand renamed in his honour was a ‘surreal’ experience, and that when the idea was first mooted, he wasn’t actually that keen on it happening.

By Ben Kearney
Saturday, 25th June 2022, 12:29 am

A crowd of 2348 came out to witness the Bairns’ player of the millennium take to the pitch before kick-off against Kilmarnock as the stand was officially changed over.

John McGlynn’s side lost out 4-1 to the Premiership newcomers, in what was a re-match of the 1997 Scottish Cup final – which took place 25 years ago.

Speaking to the Herald, 59-year-old McAllister told of his initial embarrassment when the idea was brought forward.

Kevin McAllister in front of the newly-named South Stand before the match started (Photos: Michael Gillen)

“I was a bit emotional, it was a bit surreal and I was embarrassed to be honest,” he explained.

“But once it was up and running there was no going back. When you see how it looks it looks fantastic.

“I don’t like a fuss, I just wanted to play for the club.

“I went to a higher level with Chelsea but to get a stand named after me, after making my first start for the club in 1983, is fantastic.

The Kevin McAllister Stand with its new branding and lettering

“It’s brilliant for me and my family.”

The Crunchie Initiative, founded by Falkirk fan David McInally, led the project to rename the stand and convinced the ex-Chelsea and Hibs winger to allow them to honour his four=-spells at the club.

He added: “It was a long time ago before the pandemic when I first heard about it but I wasn’t too sure at first.

“When I was a kid I just wanted to play for Falkirk as they were my team.

Club legend Alex Totten was on hand to present Kevin McAllister with a gift from the club and the initiative

“Having a stand named after me and all that was never on the agenda.

“I spoke to a few people, ex-team-mates and managers and they told me what an honour it was so I agreed to it.

“It’s 20 years since I played here but it is a decent legacy.

“Fair play to the initiative they have been fantastic and the fans who have raised the money for this and other charities. It’s been a fantastic effort.”

On the night the Bairns lost out 4-1, despite a goal from Brad McKay

McAllister also believed the honour has carried even more significance for him due to the stand being renamed at the Falkirk Stadium, despite him never having actually played at the ground.

“That was one of the reasons that I was doubting it,” he said.

“If it was at Brockville it would have been an easy decision as that’s where I grew up.

“This is a new stadium that I have not been employed at, but I know why we had to move from Brockville and this is their new home.

“It carries me with the club and I’m delighted.”

Having begun his star-studded career at Camelon Juniors, the Falkirk native said he couldn’t pick out a best moment, but that his debut at the club he supported as a boy was a moment he’ll always remember.

“I came up from the juniors and it was a vital moment in my career.

“I made my debut in 1983 against Leeds in a friendly.

“I was up against Frankie Gray and it gave me the confidence to go and go further.

“If it had gone the other way and I had a stinker, who knows what would have happened?

“The semi-final win against Celtic after the replay (in the 1997 Scottish Cup run) is probably the best I felt after a game but the Leeds game was the most significant one in my career.”

The initiative has raised over £30,000 for the cause since starting up and has passed on over £10,000 to the Falkirk Foundation to help support other projects, including a sensory room proposal.