Hibs defender Darren McCormack fined for punching Hearts rival Calum Elliot
McCormack lashed out at the 21-year-old striker outside a nightclub in George Street after he taunted him about his football career.
The 20-year-old pleaded guilty to assault at Edinburgh Sheriff Court today.
Sheriff Derrick McIntyre told McCormack: "You should know better and set an example for less fortunate youths."
The attack happened shortly before 2am outside the Why Not? club last month in full view of police.
McCormack, who earns 600 a week at the club, was immediately arrested and spent a night in police cells.
He was later fined two weeks' wages by Hibs after a disciplinary hearing and told to undergo anger management counselling.
The court heard a passer-by had alerted patrolling police to an argument at a bus stop in George Street in the early hours of Sunday March 22.
As the officers approached, they saw McCormack move towards Elliot and punch him on the right side of the face.
The footballer staggered and was caught by one of the police officers, fiscal depute Beverley Adam told the court.
Elliot was taken to hospital and x-rayed for suspected broken cheekbone but had escaped injury.
McCormack's solicitor, Kathleen More, said the pair had "a bit of history" after playing against each other in youth teams and at club level.
They met by chance in George Street after separate nights out with friends.
"When (Elliot) saw my client he made a deliberately antagonising remark to him about their respective football careers and club successes at that time," said Miss More.
"It was said with a view to winding him up, and wind him up that did."
She said the Hearts player had made similar comments in the past to McCormack, and there had been "jostling" among the group before the punch was thrown.
McCormack had been drinking but "not excessively" and the incident was "out of character", she said.
He has since been warned "in stern fashion" by the club about his behaviour.
McCormack had sent an apology to Elliot through his agent and the matter was now considered to be over.
"The truth is he's sorry for what he did that night," said Miss More.
"He has suffered a significant penalty. He tenders his apology," she added.
Sheriff McIntyre said he had reduced the fine from 1500 because McCormack pleaded guilty and allowed him two months' to pay.