A GREENOCK man with convictions for 'extreme violence' has narrowly avoided jail after brawling with his best friend.

Scott McFarlane — a jobless multiple offender — rejected a series of proposed alternative sentences, including unpaid work.

McFarlane, 27, traded punches with pal Nathan Eckwood, 26, outside the town's Cheers pub on West Stewart Street.

Prosecutor Joanne Gilmour told a previous calling of the case: "Both refused to indicate what had happened.

"However, it was noted from CCTV that they'd been squaring up to one another, they then appear to be cuddling one another, then square up again and a punch is thrown towards Mr Eckwood, who punches back.

"His punch connects with Mr McFarlane who falls to the ground."

Sheriff Derek Hamilton said at a sentencing hearing: "The difficulty for him (McFarlane) is that he has a serious record and has ruled himself out of a number of possible disposals."

Defence lawyer Aidan Gallagher said his client had told him minutes earlier that he was now willing do a community payback order.

But Sheriff Hamilton responded: "I don't have any faith in people who come along on the day and change their mind on unpaid work, so I'm ruling that out.

"He's not getting a fine or a deferred sentence, not for someone with High Court convictions and solemn convictions for extreme violence."

The sheriff declared that the stark choice was either an electronic tag or prison for McFarlane.

Solicitor Mr Gallagher said: "He and his co-accused are well known to each other, and Mr McFarlane sees him as a family member.

"Mr McFarlane has little recollection of the incident."

The Telegraph told last month how McFarlane and Eckwood pleaded guilty to engaging in a stand-up fight last October.

Eckwood, of Murdieston Street, was fined £675 but sentence on McFarlane, of Dalrymple Street, had been deferred for reports.

Sheriff Hamilton placed McFarlane on an electronic tag to remain within his home between 6pm and 6am every day for six months as a direct alternative to prison.