Glasgow & West Scotland

Dundee United's Paul Paton admits punching Celtic goalkeeper Lukasz Zaluska

Dundee United's Paul Paton Image copyright BBC Sport
Image caption Dundee United's Paul Paton pleaded guilty to assault

Dundee United midfielder Paul Paton has been fined £500 after pleading guilty to hitting a former Celtic goalkeeper after a night out in Glasgow last year.

Paton, 28, changed his plea on the first day of evidence and admitted punching Lukasz Zaluska on the head in Byres Road on 20 October 2014.

In his defence Mr Paton's lawyer said he was provoked by abuse and there was no injury to the victim.

A charge that accused him of a further assault on the goalkeeper was dropped.

Image copyright SNS (Scotland)
Image caption Polish goalkeeper Lukasz Zaluska signed for Celtic from Dundee United in 2009.

Mr Paton was previously fined four weeks wages by his club.

The player said he regretted what had happened.

The sheriff said the charge to which Paton pleaded guilty was significantly less serious than the original indictment.

During evidence at Glasgow Sheriff Court, ex-Celtic and Dundee United player Mark Wilson said his former team-mate Mr Zaluska had thought Paton was a Rangers fan.

Mr Wilson told the court Mr Zaluska said he hated all Rangers fans and wanted to kill them.

After Mr Zaluska left Ashton Lane with Mr Wilson and went on to Byres Road, Paton punched the former Celtic goalkeeper on the head, causing him to slide down the side of a taxi.

Paton then walked away from the incident and a short time later Zaluska was found unconscious and bleeding on the ground in Ashton Lane.

Paton, from Paisley had been accused of repeatedly hitting Mr Zaluska and causing injury but the Crown amended the charge.

He admitted punching Mr Zaluska on the head.

Sheriff Andrew Normand fined him £500 and told Paton: "It is clear this is an incident which you regret".

Defence lawyer Billy Lavelle said: "Mr Paton faced substantial provocation from the other gentleman."

He said that it did not justify his client's actions but "perhaps gives a background" and that on that day he "felt he couldn't take any more of the abuse".

The solicitor advocate said: "He has never denied that, the question was whether there was a second incident, which he did not accept."

Paton declined to comment as he left the court.

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