The European-South American final of 1967 had, among many others, a luxury protagonist like Juan Carlos Cárdenas. However, in the photo, another of the great figures of that day appeared in Montevideo. John Fallon, Celtic goalkeeper, flew like Superman but could not save that great shot of the “Chango” that gave the world title to the Academy and, for the first time, to an Argentine team. Vermouth Deportivo spoke with the Scottish goalkeeper 50 years after that match in an exclusive and unique interview. His memories, the continental title against Inter, his point of view and more in this article.
Vermouth Deportivo: What do you remember of that European-South American final of 1967 in Montevideo?
John Fallon: Yes, I remember the game. I was called on just before the kickoff. Nobody knows what happened to the goalkeeper, Simpson, and I was put in goal and the game started right away. That was one of the big experiences I had. It was a great experience to be playing in a World Club Championship game.
VD: That Celtic gave the surprise and defeated Inter, right?
JF: Yes, they were supposed to be winning the cup. We proved them wrong.
VD: Going back to that match in Montevideo, it was said that 80 percent of Uruguayans encouraged Celtic …
JF: Yes, in Lisbon also in that final with Inter. There was a lot of Portuguese supporting Celtic that day as well, in Lisbon, because the Portuguese didn’t like the Italians. We had a lot of big supporters.
VD: The match in Uruguay was described as “The Battle of Montevideo.” How did they live on the court?
JF: Yes, I just thought it was silly refereeing. The referee (Note: Paraguayan, Rodolfo Pérez Osorio) was very poor, he was very very weak and I think he spoiled the game really. The game wasn’t as bad as, well, I didn’t think the game was as bad as what it was according to the Scottish media, the British media.
VD: 50 years of Racing’s most important goal in its history. Many rivals say that one day the Cárdenas shoe will hit the crossbar or go outside. Do you dream that this happened?
JF: The ball went straight in at the top right-hand corner, it didn’t hit anything. It was a screamer, it was a great goal that he scored. A fantastic shot. I’d rather it hit the woodwork or I saved it. I’d liked to have saved it. I have a photo in my house, in my memorabilia, and it’s a photo of the goal and all the Racing Club players who played have signed the photo for me.
VD: We talked to the other protagonist, the’Chango’Cárdenas, and he told us that he can not believe that 50 years have passed since that final. What final balance could we do?
JF: Well, I really enjoyed the game. It was a great experience to me and I had no complaints about it. I really did enjoy the game. Unbelievable the Celtic manager, Stein, said that I should have saved the goal. I told him that two goalkeepers, three goalkeepers would never have saved that ball, that shot. He promised me that I would get back in the team, but then when we got home he said no, you’re not going back in the team. I was disappointed with him more than anything.
VD: Time has passed and you still remember those three matches…
JF: Inside Celtic Park there is a memorial to that game, they were good games and if the away goal had counted, we would have won.
VD: Thanks for your time and for the memory, John …
JF: Thank you and tell the boys to enjoy their celebration then.