Ferguson pays tribute to Celtic legend Fallon

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson paid tribute to former Republic of Ireland and Celtic player Sean Fallon at his funeral today.

The Sligo native died at the age of 90 last week, leaving a legacy which included his time as assistant manager to Jock Stein when the club became the first British team to lift the European Cup in 1967.

Hundreds of mourners attended his funeral service in Glasgow, including Ferguson and famous Celtic faces such as current manager Neil Lennon and a number of current and former players.

Ferguson addressed the congregation at the Church of Christ the King at Kings Park, Glasgow, to pay tribute to "a great man".

He said: "I think it's very difficult for people who are successful to remain humble, it's a touch of greatness.

"Sean always had that greatness.

"Through his background, his upbringing, his Irishness, that breeds humility and also loyalty, he would never let you down."

Although Ferguson was a supporter of rival Glasgow side Rangers, he formed a strong friendship with Fallon as he built his career as a coach and a manager.

He praised him for his role as assistant manager to Stein and said he was talented in the position, which required him to "get to the heart of the dressing room, make sure you know what's going on and you can help the way that the manager sometimes cannot help".

Ferguson also spoke of Fallon's skill in developing young talent and working with Stein to create arguably the greatest Celtic team of all time.

He said: "That was the structure that I think helped Celtic become great and to become the first club in Britain the lift the European Cup."

The Old Trafford manager also shared some personal insight into how well the pair knew each other.

He said: "Over these years he became a great friend of mine and a great supporter of me. He had great observation, which I must say only (his wife) Cathy's got.

"He said he could tell, watching me on the telly, when I'm angry and when I'm happy. I thought I was always angry.

"What a fantastic man and it's a privilege for me to be here."

Among the mourners were other Celtic veterans including Kenny Dalglish and Tommy Gemmell, who scored against Inter Milan for the club side also known as the Lisbon Lions when they won the European Cup in 1967.

Current players present at the service included captain Scott Brown, Tony Watt, Adam Matthews and Georgios Samaras.

Fallon leaves behind his wife Myra, five daughters and a son.

His grandchildren, in turn, paid their tributes to their "Papa".

One said: "Our papa said he realised his dreams. He'd a family he loved, a job he loved. May we all be so blessed."

FIFA president Sepp Blatter also hailed the Celtic legend, insisting that his Celtic Park legacy continues to churn out stars of the future.

The governing body's leader hailed the impact that Fallon made as right-hand man to European Cup-winning manager Jock Stein in the 1960s.

He also paid tribute to the foundations he laid in setting up Celtic's youth system.

He told Celtic's official website: "In addition to a successful career as a player for Celtic, Mr Fallon will also be remembered for his great technical knowledge as assistant manager of Celtic during the Jock Stein era, fulfilling a role that is of such vital importance to the game, namely identifying and nurturing young talent.

"Youth development work such as that carried out by Mr Fallon to such good effect continues to be important to this day, and he will have been pleased to note the emergence of several young talents in recent years, who have most certainly played their part in Celtic's recent success, most notably in the Champions League.

"On behalf of the members of the international football family, I should be extremely grateful if you could extend our deepest condolences to Mr Fallon's family, friends and loved ones."

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