A PROMISING young footballer was part of a mob who left a 16 year-old boy unconscious after a brutal attack.

He was of one of four thugs - now all aged 17 - who pounced on the defenceless victim after throwing chips at him in Prestwick, Ayrshire, on June 20, last year.

Two of the attackers battered the victim to the ground before the others joined in by kicking and stamping on his head and body.

One of the thugs later claimed that his blows were “like kicking a football with force.”

The victim was left motionless and was later diagnosed with a bleed to the skull and a fractured eye socket.

A judge heard how the young footballer had been training with a Scottish Premiership team.

He and the others pled guilty today at the High Court in Glasgow to an assault to the victim's severe injury and danger of life.

No one involved can be named due to their age.

The court heard three of the attackers were in a group throwing chips at the victim who was with his friends on Boydfield Gardens, Prestwick.

Prosecutor Bill McVicar said the boy was "afraid for his safety". He was pushed as he waited to cross a road.

Mr McVicar went on: "One of the boys approached the victim from behind, threw him to the ground and punched him repeatedly to the head."

The victim initially overpowered the attacker but he was then punched and kicked by a second boy.

The other attackers then kicked and stamped on the stricken boy.

The victim was taken to hospital where he was treated for his serious injuries. Fortunately, he has made a recovery.

Mr McVicar added: "The nature of the assault involving concerted and repeated kicking and stamping to the head while the victim was on the ground carried an obvious risk of life to him."

The first attacker was traced and found to have a wound to his neck.

The victim claimed that he had no recollection of using the knife.

Mr McVicar added: “Another attacker said he kicked the victim twice on the body...he described these blows like kicking a football with force.”

Defence counsel Susan Duff, representing one of the boys, said: "He excelled as a footballer and was scouted for a Scottish Premiership team and trained for three months but he was let go."

Judge Lady Rae said: “This is obviously a serious matter and was a pretty brutal attack on a young man.

“He was defenceless, totally defenceless, you acted like a mob.

“I’m not going to make a judgement but custody is at the upper most of my mind.”

The attackers, who all live in Ayrshire, were granted bail pending background reports for next month's sentencing.