Paul Paton guilty of assaulting ex-Celtic keeper Lukasz Zaluska


Dundee United midfielder Paul Paton pled guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court to assaulting former Celtic goalkeeper Lukasz Zaluska yesterday and was fined £500.

Paton was arrested last October for allegedly assaulting the then-Celtic shot stopper on Ashton Lane, but entered a plea of ‘incrimination’ and denying the charges laying the blame for the assault of the keeper on his friend Chris McCluskey. The victim, Lukasz Zaluska was not in court to give evidence as he now lives in Germany.

Former Dundee United and Celtic defender Mark Wilson told the court that he had been on Ashton Lane on the night of the assault, socialising with his wife Kelly and a group of friends including St.Mirren defender Jim Goodwin before meeting Paul Paton and Chris McCluskey later that night.

Wilson said that the group had left Irish bar Jinty McGinties just before midnight and met Zaluska on their way to Byres Road to get a taxi. It was claimed that the Polish keeper was under the influence of alcohol and that Paton introduced himself to him, before Zaluska said ‘you are Rangers’ to Paton who denied that adding ‘I play with Dundee United’.

The keeper was, according to Wilson, ‘being overly-aggressive’ towards Paton and kept saying ‘you are Rangers’ and ‘I hate Rangers’.

Wilson then stepped in between Paton and Zaluska before ushering his former Celtic team mate away advising him to get a taxi. He then testified that the Pole then turned and ‘started shouting up the lane, “I hate Rangers, I want to kill all Rangers fans.”

It was at this point that Paton approached Zaluska and ‘slapped’ him sending the keeper stumbling backwards against a taxi.

Wilson had agreed that the keeper had not ‘laid hands’ on Paton, although continued that he had been aggressive.

Following this altercation Wilson went to leave the lane but heard a ‘commotion’ and saw the Polish keeper unconscious with blood coming from his head. Wilson told the court that he did not see what happened, but went to see if Zaluska was okay and stayed with him.

CCTV footage was shown to the court showing Paton [according to Wilson]coming together with a second man but given the angle of the camera it was not clear who the second person was. Further footage showed Wilson and Zaluska in Ashton Lane holding the keeper back before walking down to Byres Road to get a taxi.

Wilson identified another person on the footage as a journalist, Matt McGlone, but only found out who he was after the incident.

On cross examination, Wilson claimed that Zaluska had said that he would ‘Paddy McCourt and tell him you are with a Hun.”

He added that Paton had been calm but ‘became more animated’ before slapping Zaluska on the face. Wilson told the court ‘It was not a clean punch’.

After he returned to the scene with Zaluska unconscious, Wislon claimed that he was ‘shouted at’ by another man who had appeared to be drunk. This person, who was later identified as Matt McGlone, claimed to have said: “I saw what you did and I remember you at Celtic.”

Wilson then finished his testimony saying that an ambulance and police had attended the scene and he spoke to officers about the incident.

Wilson’s wife Kelly was then called to give testimony and she corroborated her husband’s version of events, adding that the keeper was shouting ‘football things’ and was ‘very aggressive’.

She admitted that she tried to keep Paton away from the Polish keeper, but that he approached the victim and threw a punch at his head over her husband’s shoulder sending Zaluska stumbling back before tripping and falling over.

Wilson then told the court that five minutes or so after she heard loud screams from further down the lane and saw Zaluska ‘lying on the ground with blood coming from his head’. But did not see Paton at this time.

The prosecution called the third and final witness in the case, Matt McGlone – who used to work for Celtic View and now publishes the Celtic fanzine Alternative View.

McGlone told the court that he was on Ashton Lane on the night of the incident and had been drinking with friends before walking down the lane to get a taxi.

He testified that he saw Jim Goodman, Mark Wilson and Lucas Zalusaka along with the defendant Paul Paton – who at the time he didn’t know. Wilson was standing between Paton and Zaluska trying to keep them apart.

McGlone claimed that Paton was ‘the aggressor’ and he approached Zaluska and advised him to get a taxi and as he moved away Paton attacked the keeper and ‘smacked him on the side of the head’ sending the keeper to the floor.

He added that he told Mark Wilson ‘some mate you, leaving your mate lying like that’.”

It was at this point that Zaluska got up and walked back up the lane towards Paton, who hit him again [according to McGlone]which lead to the keeper hitting his head off the wall before another man also hit him – McGlone did not recognise the second assailant.

After this Paton and the other assailant ran off and Wilson threatened him [McGlone] telling him to ‘get to f*ck out of this lane” and when Police arrived Wilson pointed to McGlone telling them to “arrest that man.”

When cross examined McGlone he told the court that he had not heard Zaluska say anything about Rangers or hear him threatening Paton.

The defence accused McGlone of being drunk that night and handed a copy of his police statement before being questioned why he never said what happened before the assault.

McGlone added: “I answered the questions I was asked.”

“You didn’t tell the police about the earlier incident in Ashton Lane?” the defence counsel said. “Didn’t you think that was important?”

“The court asked me the police didn’t,” McGlone replied.

Despite claims that Wilson was standing between Zaluska and Paton before the midfielder hit out at the keeper, McGlone stated that he was telling the ‘exact truth’ and added ‘you are trying to make up some concocted story’.

When it was put to McGlone that he had not seen Paton hit Zaluska a second time and suggested that it was Chris McCluskey who attacked the Polish keeper, McGlone responded: “I was there and you weren’t.”

Adding that there was no shouting coming from Zaluska and that any story to the contrary was a ‘concoction’

Following an adjournment in the afternoon, counsel for Paton told the court that following evidence given the United midfielder had agreed to plead guilty to a reduced charge of assault against the former Celtic goalkeeper – with the disputed ‘second punch’ charge being removed with the Crown accepting the guilty plea.

It was announced in court that Paton had been fined four weeks wages by the Tannadice club.

The presiding sheriff handed the midfielder a fine of £500 giving him one month to pay, before the case was concluded.

In the aftermath of the case, McGlone took to twitter to further add to his testimony.

There was no comment from Paul Paton when he left court yesterday.

Court report attributed to journalist James Doleman


About Author


Andy Muirhead is the Editor of Scotzine and the Scottish Football fanzine FITBA. He is the Scottish Football columnist for The Morning Star and has written for a number of other publications including ESPN, Huffington Post UK, BT Life's a Pitch and has had his work featured in the Daily Record, The Scotsman and the Daily Mail.

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