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.
Fallon signed for Celtic from junior football team Fauldhouse United in 1959 to understudy for Frank Haffey and made his debut that same year against Clyde. He replaced Haffey as first choice goalkeeper in 1963 and played his part in the UEFA 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. He remained first choice goalkeeper until the signing of veteran keeper Ronnie Simpson from Hibernian in 1965.
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 Uruguay, 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.
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 later played for Motherwell and Morton before retiring from senior football.
Former Celtic Keeper John Fallon stands outside his bar (Fallon’s bar) in Blantyre posing for this photograph taken in 1978
In the NEWS 1976…
Ex-Celt’s Pub Hit By Blaze.
Strathclyde CID were today probing a blaze which badly damaged a pub owned by ex-Celtic goalkeeper John Fallon.
Police called in the fire brigade early today after an explosion blew out a window at Fallon’s Bar in Glasgow Road, Blantyre. A fire tender had to be sent from Motherwell because the Hamilton brigade was fighting blazes in Uddingston and Hamilton.
Several fires had been started throughout the pub. Just before opening time today Mr Fallon, who left Parkhead in 1971, went through the charred lounge with his staff, collecting Celtic pennants which decorated the walls.
As he cleaned up a mirror which marked his days when Celtic won the European Cup, Mr Fallon owner of the pub for the last seven years said “I couldn’t believe it. We have suffered a number of broken windows in the past, and when they told me there had been an explosion I immediately thought that one of the gas cylinders had gone up.
“It appears that the premises have been broken into and several fires started, but there is no sign of a robbery. The money I left in the till is still there. “It will be several days before we get the place opened again.”
As staff cleaned up, workmen moved in to start the repairs.
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