A COUNTY man left a teenager with a serious head injury after striking him with a bottle outside the Ross High Rugby Club rooms.

Gareth Gray lashed out while holding the bottle after teenager Hamish McNeill had made disparaging remarks about the suit Gray’s father was wearing.

The 41-year-old and his family had hired out the function area of the club to celebrate his father’s 65th birthday when the violence erupted shortly after midnight on May 14 last year.

Mr McNeill, 19, was left with blood streaming down his face following the attack after being struck on the ear with the makeshift weapon.

Gray, of Lindores Drive, Tranent, appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Wednesday, where he pleaded guilty to a charge of assaulting Mr McNeill to his injury.

The court was told that Gray was leaving the party at about12.30am and was engaged in conversation with his victim and his group of friends outside the club rooms.

The court heard “a comment” was made by Mr McNeill and Gray became “aggressive” towards the teenager.

Gray then struck Mr McNeill to the head with the bottle he was holding in his hand and a first aider who was present rushed over to help treat the bloody wound.

Police were called and, after viewing CCTV footage of the incident, later traced Gray, who had left the scene following the attack.

Made remarks

Lawyer Jonathan Campbell, representing Gray, said that Gray’s relatives had hired out the club for his dad’s 65th birthday celebrations.

He said the teenage victim and his friends had not been at the party but had spent the evening drinking alcohol elsewhere on the premises.

Mr Campbell added that the partygoers and club patrons “mixed” at the end of the night and Mr McNeill had made “remarks” about his client’s father’s suit and was overheard “making fun of it”.

The lawyer said that Gray had been drinking from the bottle, which he had taken from the club, when he swung the blow.

Unemployed Gray, who has previously worked as a kitchen fitter and a window cleaner, was ordered to pay Mr McNeill £300 in compensation by Sheriff Adrian Fraser.

Gray admitted assaulting Hamish McNeill by striking him on the head with a glass bottle, to his injury, at Blawearie Road, Tranent, on May 14 last year.