A FOOTBALL hooligan who threw a flare onto a pitch in the middle of a top-flight match was kicked out of Inverness Sheriff Court before his case was even called after talking in the public gallery.
Brian Emslie (21) had been talking with a friend while another case was being heard and Sheriff Margaret Neilson ordered police to escort him out of court.
And when Emslie, who previously admitted hurling a flare onto the pitch during a Highland derby between Ross County and Inverness Caley Thistle, finally did appear before the sheriff, his solicitor Claire Russell offered his apology for the earlier disruption.
She said: "I must first apologise for his behaviour in court earlier on.
"He does apologise and is fully aware of his behaviour," she added.
But Sheriff Neilson asked why he appeared to misbehave "every single time" he was in court.
Ms Russell replied: "I think, perhaps, it is due to nerves and a lack of understanding of what is appropriate behaviour. But he has been made well aware now. I have made him aware of it."
Emslie, of Evan Barron Road in Inverness, pleaded guilty at an earlier court hearing to a charge of culpable and reckless behaviour on April 28 by throwing a lit pyrotechnic onto the football pitch at the Global Energy Stadium in Dingwall.
Ross County beat Caley Thistle 4-0 on the day – a result which pushed their rivals to the brink of relegation last season.
Ms Russell told the court: "He was previously in the army, but was medically discharged. He slid into drug and alcohol mis-use.
"He was under the influence of alcohol prior to the football match commencing."
She described her client throwing the flare as "impulsive and reckless behaviour" and "immature".
But she added: "There were no serious consequences and he does accept what could have happened."
Sheriff Neilson also heard how Emslie was on a community payback order of 200 hours’ unpaid work for a separate matter.
Sentencing is restricted to a maximum of 300 hours, but Sheriff Neilson reckoned Emslie should be punished with more than the 100 hours that were remaining.
She deferred sentence on him for six months for good behaviour and warned him he faced prison if he broke his part of the bargain.
Sheriff Neilson said: "I will defer sentence for a period of six months for good behaviour and call for a supplementary criminal justice social work report.
"If I were you, in regard to this, you should get your head down and do as many hours as quickly as possible to avoid a custodial sentence," she warned.