John Fallon (footballer)

John Fallon (born 16 August 1940) is a Scottish former professional footballer and member of the Celtic squad that won the European Cup in 1967, which came to be known as the Lisbon Lions.

John Fallon
Personal information
Full name John Fallon
Date of birth (1940-08-16) 16 August 1940 (age 81)
Place of birth Cambuslang, Scotland[1]
Position(s) Goalkeeper
Youth career
Halfway Boys Guild[1]
1958[1] Fauldhouse United
1958–1959[1] Celtic
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1959–1971 Celtic 114 (0)
1971–1972 Motherwell 10 (0)
1972–1973 Morton 0 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only


Fallon signed for Celtic, the team he supported in childhood,[1] from junior team Fauldhouse United in December 1958 to understudy for Frank Haffey and made his debut in September 1959 against Clyde. He replaced Haffey as first choice goalkeeper in 1963 and played his part in the Cup Winners Cup run of 1964, where they lost out to the Hungarian team MTK Budapest 4–3 in the semi-finals, after holding a 3–0 lead from the first leg at Celtic Park.[2] He remained first choice goalkeeper until the signing of veteran Ronnie Simpson from Hibernian in 1965.[3]

Fallon became the only Lisbon Lion not to play in Celtic's win in the 1967 European Cup Final against Inter Milan, as he was the (unused) substitute goalkeeper. At that time the only substitute permitted was for the goalkeeping position.

As a result of winning the European Cup, Celtic entered the Intercontinental Cup later that year, a two-leg match against Racing Club of Argentina. While warming up for the second leg, a brick (Sir Robert Kelly says it was a "flat iron bar") thrown or catapulted by a member of the crowd, struck Ronnie Simpson on the head. With Simpson unable to play, Fallon was called on to keep goal in a bad-tempered second leg, and an even more bad-tempered play-off. Although Celtic lost the return leg, and the subsequent play-off in Montevideo, amid accusations of extreme foul play from the Racing players, Fallon distinguished himself with a string of saves which caused one commentator to remark: "If that's the reserve keeper, what must the other guy be like?"

According to Sir Robert Kelly in his book Celtic, when Celtic tried to get the second leg declared void because of the Simpson incident, Racing Club used Fallon's heroic performance as their counter argument, and the result stood. Fallon also played in the team that won the Alfredo di Stefano Trophy, a testimonial for the Real Madrid player.[4]

After Simpson's retirement, Fallon took over as first choice at Celtic. He lost his place to Evan Williams due to a long illness, sitting out the 1970 European Cup Final. He left the club in 1971 and subsequently played for Motherwell[5] and Morton[6] before retiring from senior football. He later owned a pub in Blantyre, where he had lived for many years.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e Keeping in Paradise: My Autobiography, John Fallon / David Potter, Black & White Publishing, 2015, ISBN 9781845029753
  2. ^ "Budapest 4–0 Celtic". TheCelticWiki. Retrieved 2 December 2008.
  3. ^ Celtic player Fallon, John, FitbaStats
  4. ^ Alfredo Di Stefano Trophy Archived 3 September 2012 at
  5. ^ John Fallon, MotherWELLnet
  6. ^ Morton player Fallon, John, FitbaStats
  7. ^ John Fallon, The Blantyre Project, 8 October 2016

External linksEdit

  • John Fallon at Post War English & Scottish Football League A–Z Player's Database