Sean Fallon: The passing of a true Iron Man

Posted by Andy Muirhead

Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesSean Fallon became a Celtic legend as a hard-nosed defender in the 1950s

Celtic legend Sean Fallon has died at the age of 90. The former captain, chief scout, assistant manager and manager of Celtic passed away peacefully early Friday morning.

The Irishman was a true Celtic great, serving the club for several decades, first as a player making 254 appearances and scoring 14 goals, then as assistant to Jock Stein during the greatest period in the club's history. He was then caretaker manager in 1975 as a near-fatal car crash put Stein out of action before he went on to become the club's chief scout.

He was pivotal in bringing through many greats such as Tommy Gemmell, Danny McGrain, Kenny Dalglish, Davie Hay, Lou Macari and Pat Bonner.

As befitting his stature and pride of place in the hearts of the Celtic family, Fallon was given the honour of unfurling the championship flag at the start of this season, Celtic's 125th anniversary.

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell said: “This is very, very sad news and our thoughts are with Sean's wife, Myra, their children Marie-Therese, Louise, Collette, Siobhan, Sean and Sinead, and all of Sean’s family and many friends.

“Sean Fallon was a Celtic legend who devoted much of his life to the club he loved. He was, of course, a supporter, first and foremost, and he was proud to have worn the green and white Hoops that he loved.

“He did so with fearless distinction over eight years in the 1950s, and Sean was at the heart of all of our triumphs, including that famous 7-1 League Cup victory in 1957.

“Ten years later, he was part of our greatest ever success, winning the European Cup in Lisbon. Working alongside Jock Stein, Sean helped to deliver that trophy, along with nine consecutive league titles and numerous other trophies. He was an integral part of the club’s success, and also played a vital role in identifying talented young players who would go on to become great Celts.

“He was a gentleman with a great sense of humour, and always a welcome guest here at Celtic Park. And there could have been no more fitting person to unveil the championship flag at this start of this, our 125th anniversary season, than a man who gave so much to Celtic Football Club.

“Sean will be sadly missed but he will never be forgotten for what he did for our club.”

Fallon was an integral part of the Celtic side in the 1950s and was part of the famous one that won the Scottish League Cup in 1957, beating rivals Rangers 7-1 in a game later dubbed 'Hampden in the Sun'.

Current Celtic manager Neil Lennon added: “We are all shocked and saddened to hear of Sean’s death, and the thoughts of all the players and management are with his family.

“Sean was a great Celtic man, and it’s been a privilege to meet him over the years. He was always a very humble man when you met him, even though his achievements in the game were extraordinary.

“He did everything you could ever wish to achieve in football, as a player for both club and country, while he went to even greater things in management alongside Jock Stein. For these things, the Celtic supporters have always loved Sean and recognised him as one of our own because it was always his great love of Celtic which shone through.

“It was a fitting tribute that Sean unveiled the championship flag back in August and the welcome he received from the supporters spoke volumes. We will all miss him.”

In 1980, Fallon went on to coach Dumbarton, who finished eighth in the Scottish Second Division.

Personally speaking, I met Sean on a number of occasions over the years at Celtic Park and he was always courteous, a gentleman and went out of his way to speak to the fans. The fans adored him and this was reciprocated by the Irishman.

My thoughts and condolences go out to Sean’s family and friends at this very sad time.

Factfile

Born: Sligo, Ireland, July 31, 1922.

Played: For Celtic between 1950-58, making 254 appearances and scoring 14 goals. He was also capped eight times by the Republic of Ireland.

Previous clubs: Included St Mary’s Juniors, Sligo Rovers, McArthurs, Sligo Distillery, Longford Town and Glenavon before Celtic signed him. He also played Gaelic Football for Craobh Ruadh.

Celtic highlights

- Made his debut for Celtic away to Clyde in the final game of the 1949-50 season and picked up his first piece of silverware the following season as Celtic beat Motherwell in the Scottish Cup Final.

- Fallon was made club captain in 1953, but injury sidelined him for much of the season and the captaincy passed onto Jock Stein.

- Never a prolific goalscorer at fullback or centre-half, Fallon scored in the Scottish Cup Final in 1954 as Celtic beat Aberdeen 2-1 at Hampden. Celtic secured the league and cup double that season. He was also part of the famous Celtic team which won the League Cup in 1957, with Celtic beating Rangers 7-1.

In 1958, he was forced to retire through injury.

When Stein was appointed manager in 1965, Fallon was made assistant manager. He stepped up to the manager's role in 1975 while Stein was recovering from a car crash. In 1976 he took over the position of Youth Development Officer aka Chief Scout.

He left Celtic in 1978 and became assistant manager of Dumbarton before becoming manager in 1980. He even tried to tempt Dutch great Johan Cruyff to the club for £2,000, but he decided against Boghead and played for New York Cosmos instead.

Championships:

Player

Scottish League - 1953-54
Scottish Cup - 1951, 1954
Scottish League Cup - 1956-57, 1957-58

Assistant coach *


European Cup - 1966-67
Scottish League - 1965-66, 1966-67, 1967-68, 1968-69, 1969-70, 1970-71, 1971-72, 1972-73, 1973-74
Scottish Cup - 1965, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975*
Scottish League Cup - 1965-66, 1966-67, 1967-68, 1968-69, 1969-70, 1974-75*

*-caretaker in 1975

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