A THUG who knocked a man out with a single punch following a 'misunderstanding' has been told to pay his victim £2,500.

Scott Coleman was hit with the hefty compensation order for leaving the man unconscious and scarred for life.

Coleman, 29, committed the serious assault outside a pub on Greenock's Cathcart Street after taking exception to a comment that wasn't directed at him.

Sheriff Andrew McIntyre told him that he must also complete 225 hours of unpaid work within nine months.

The lawman said: "Acts of violence have to be deterred and they will not be tolerated in Greenock.

"It is something that is the scourge of people on nights out and the public wants this behaviour to stop and be dealt with robustly."

Coleman, of Belville Street, punched the man on the face and caused him to strike his head off a wall and fall to the ground unconscious on March 11 last year.

He pleaded guilty to assault to severe injury and permanent disfigurement.

His not guilty plea to an allegation of shouting, swearing and making threats of violence was accepted.

Defence lawyer Aidan Gallagher told the sheriff court: "The offence was committed with a background of drink which clouded his judgement on the night in question.

"He misunderstood a remark by the complainer and reacted, and he accepts in sobriety that he acted wrongly."

The court heard that Coleman has two previous convictions for assaulting police officers.

His victim on this occasion had made a remark to his own girlfriend, prosecutors say.

Solicitor Mr Gallagher said: "The misunderstanding is on his part."

Sheriff McIntyre told Coleman: "I am satisfied that your conduct crosses the threshold for a prison sentence, but I must by law consider alternatives to prison.

"The greater good will be best served by you maintaining your employment and commitment to your children."

Coleman will also remain under the supervision of social workers for a year and must attend an anger management course.

A progress review hearing has been set for July 24.