Tayside and Central Scotland

Man punched Dundee United player in head

Danny Swanson
Image caption Danny Swanson was attacked after leaving a restaurant on Glasgow's Queen Street

A Dundee United player was taken to hospital after being knocked unconscious during a brawl in Glasgow city centre, a court has heard.

Danny Swanson was punched by John Friel when he left a restaurant with two of his teammates after a night out in Glasgow in November 2010.

In the same incident, ex-Dundee Utd youth player Matthew Flynn head butted the club's left back, Barry Douglas.

Both the men admitted the offences. Sentencing was deferred.

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard that the players had been in Glasgow nightclub Karbon on 3 November, before going to a restaurant on Queen Street.

Punch to head

Mr Swanson left the restaurant with Dundee United players David Goodwillie and Mr Douglas when the attack happened.

Passer-by John Stuart, who stopped to help Mr Swanson as he lay motionless on the pavement, was also punched to the ground by Flynn, 22, and repeatedly punched by 23-year-old Friel.

Friel, from Rutherglen, Glasgow, admitted assaulting Mr Swanson by punching him on the head and knocking him unconscious, to his severe injury.

He also admitted punching Mr Stuart on the head to his injury.

Flynn, from Cardonald, Glasgow, pled guilty to head butting Mr Douglas and punching Mr Stuart on the head and body and knocking him to the ground to his injury.

The court was told that the footballers had gone to the bar Bread and Butter in Glasgow's Buchanan Street where they met teammate Scott Allan and Flynn.

Mr Douglas, Mr Goodwillie and Mr Swanson left and went to Karbon nightclub, downstairs from the bar, and were joined shortly after by Mr Allan and Flynn.

When the club closed at 0300 GMT, the group moved to Japanese restaurant Oko Express on Queen Street.

Procurator fiscal depute Bernard Ablett told the court: "The accused John Friel, who was not known to the Dundee United players, was also inside the restaurant.

"At one point Daniel Swanson attempted to take a photograph of Barry Douglas with another customer with his mobile phone, and John Friel put his hand up in front of the phone."

After eating their food, the Dundee United players left the restaurant just ahead of Flynn and Friel.

The court heard that only 19 seconds after leaving Flynn head butted Mr Douglas then pushed him onto a parked car.

Mr Ablett said: "Danny Swanson's attention was distracted by this incident, and this allowed Friel to approach Swanson unnoticed from the side, and Friel then punched Swanson on the side of his head.

"Swanson immediately fell to the pavement motionless for just under five minutes."

Mr Stuart was attacked by both Friel and Flynn after he tried to offer assistance to Mr Swanson, who was lying on the pavement, the court heard.

Police arrived at the scene shortly after and both accused were traced.

Sheriff Alan Mackenzie deferred sentencing until next month.

Friel's defence lawyer Bob McCormack and Philip Coen for Flynn will give their pleas in mitigation then.

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