Footballer Richie Foran 'intimidated' before fight
Footballer Richie Foran has had his sentence deferred for six months for good behaviour following a fight outside an Inverness nightclub.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle's captain admitted that he behaved in a threatening and abusive manner in Inglis Street, Inverness, on 21 July.
He also admitted that he engaged in fighting in the incident last year.
Inverness Justice of Peace Court heard that Foran and a team-mate had at the time been the target of abuse.
Foran the other footballers had encountered "intimidating gestures, despicable remarks and physical violence", the court heard.
Justice of Peace Caroline Smith said: "I am of the view that you were intimidated and hit back."'Head recoiling'
The court heard Foran and a number of other friends and players, including fellow Irishman Aaron Doran, were on a team night out.
They left the Miami nightclub at 03.20 to be confronted by a group of 10 men who began abusing Mr Doran and shouting racist remarks about his nationality, including telling him to go back to Ireland.
Defence agent John MacColl said: "My client saw the potential for trouble and ushered his group away from the men and at this stage had done nothing wrong. In fact he had done everything right.
"They moved well away from the nightclub but were followed by the men who continued to target Mr Doran. But the abuse was directed at my client when these men heard his Irish accent."
Mr MacColl went on: "He was punched twice in the face and he reacted to that. CCTV pictures clearly show his head recoiling back from one blow.
"This situation was not of his making, and he reacted rather than started."
The solicitor said Foran did a lot of charity work, including visiting Highland Hospice and Raigmore Hospital.
He added: "At the end of his career intends moving to the USA to coach football."