A 22-YEAR-OLD man who smashed a glass bottle on the head of another man during a fight in Galashiels town centre has avoided a custodial sentence at Selkirk Sheriff Court.

John McMillan was told by Sheriff Peter Paterson that the offence met the threshold required by a court to impose a jail sentence.

But he took into account McMillan had not carried out any serious offences since the assault last May, his personal circumstances and also his age with guidelines not to send under 25s to prison.

Prosecutor Drew Long said McMillan had been behaving noisily in the Bank Street area of the town at around 7pm and was intoxicated.

A householder had told him to pack it in and then confronted McMillan who started threatening the man and punched him on the side of the face.

Mr Long said McMillan then smashed a glass bottle over the man’s head causing lacerations to his neck, face and head.

The man took McMillan to the ground and suffered more cuts to his hand as he fell.

Defence lawyer Ed Hulme said the incident happened when his client was at “rock bottom” and had been struggling with alcohol, heroin and valium.

He said the incident had started in Bank Street Gardens but the assault took place in Overhaugh Street after the man pursued McMillan.

Mr Hulme added: “He threw a punch. He had an empty beer bottle in his hand which he smashed over the complainer’s head.”

He said the injury was not severe and there was no permanent impairment, adding his client was about to move into his partner’s address and he was “in a better place now”.

Mr Hulme said: “He appreciates it’s a serious offence.”

McMillan – who admitted a charge of assault to injury – was given an 18-month community payback order with a supervision requirement and ordered to carry out 180 hours unpaid work.

He was also ordered to pay £200 compensation to his victim.