A SHOPKEEPER who was set upon by two men in an unprovoked attack believes they "would have killed me" if they had got him on the ground.

Ilhan Ahmedov, 39, said he felt "a bit let down by the justice system" as the second of the two men responsible for the attack escaped a jail sentence today (Tuesday).

Robert Cleland, 28, repeatedly punched and kicked Mr Ahmedov to the head and body after he and a friend had been refused alcohol.

Cleland and Craig Douglas, 24, left Mr Ahmedov covered in blood suffering from a broken nose and cheekbone, as well as heavy bruising to his face.

The vicious attack was only stopped when the duo spotted a passer-by phoning the police on them as they attacked Mr Ahmedov outside the family-run store in Musselburgh.

Cleland, of Tolbooth Wynd, Edinburgh, pleaded guilty to the assault at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last month and he returned to court today for sentencing.

Sheriff Kenneth McGowan told Cleland he had carried out a “sustained assault” and caused “serious injury” to the shopkeeper but stopped short of jailing him.

Instead, Sheriff McGowan placed Cleland on two years of supervision and told him he must pay his victim £2,000 in compensation.

Cleland will also have to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and attend alcohol counselling sessions as part of a court conduct requirement.

Accomplice Douglas was jailed for 18 months by Sheriff Nigel Ross for his part in the attack when he pleaded guilty at the Capital court in November last year.

READ MORE: Man jailed for racist attack on shopkeeper

Bulgarian shop owner Mr Ahmedov, who has been in Scotland for two years, said that the pair demanded cash from him during the incident and he still suffers from flashbacks due to the violence.

He said: “They told me they wanted money before saying me that I was 'a minority' and 'this is our country'.

“I am really disappointed that the second guy did not get jailed as this was a horrific attack on me and my business.

“They said they were drunk and could not remember but that is no excuse. I feel a bit let down by the justice system.”

Previously the court was told that Cleland and Douglas turned up at Monktonhall Newsagents demanding alcohol at about 8.15pm on August 10 last year.

Mr Ahmedov told the pair he did not have an alcohol licence and politely asked them to leave the premises as he was feeling intimidated.

But instead the men turned violent and grabbed the shocked shop owner before dragging him outside the small store into the street.

The pair then began punching and kicking Mr Ahmedov to the head and body as he tried to protect himself from the blows.

Both men were subsequently traced by officers after they were identified from the shop’s CCTV footage.

At the earlier hearing, Sheriff McGowan had told Cleland: “You’re very brave when it is two versus one, aren’t you?”

READ MORE: Sheriff mocks thug's 'bravery' after assault

Last month, prosecutor Peter Motion told the court that both attackers were “intoxicated” when they entered the shop and that Mr Ahmedov immediately “felt scared by their presence and pressed the shop’s panic alarm”.

Mr Motion added: “He tried to usher them out of the shop but at the front door they attacked the complainer.

“The accused [Cleland] repeatedly punched him to the head and body and he fell to the ground.

“The complainer got up and they took it in turns to punch the complainer to the head and body.

“The partner of the complainer hit the accused as she tried to protect the complainer.

“Passers-by also stopped in a bid to calm the situation down and the two men ran away.”

The court also heard that Douglas, from Musselburgh, had been taking Valium and alcohol that evening and once inside the shop he began shouting racial slurs towards Mr Ahmedov.

Cleland and Douglas pleaded guilty to assaulting Ilhan Ahmedov by pushing him on the body, seizing him by the neck, dragging him along the ground and repeatedly punching him to the head and body, all to his severe injury at Eskview Terrace, Musselburgh, on August 10 last year.