A FORMER soldier suffered these horrific injuries after a young thug tried to pinch a cigarette from his mouth.
John McGee, 49, had a roll-up ciggie between his lips as he left the pub – and someone tried to steal it before punching him in the face.
When John went back to the scene a short time later in a bid to find out who had assaulted him he was attacked by a gang of up to 12 hooligans.
He suffered a fractured left eye socket, lost three teeth and also had a bruised chest and ribs.
John, who served as a Guardsman with the Scots Guards when he was younger, told the Paisley Daily Express: “I was going out of the pub and this person tried to pull the roll-up from my mouth. Then they punched me on the nose.
“I was bleeding and walked up the road and went home to bed. But then I went back down to the village to find out who had done this to me.
“At Braehead I got talking to some lads and thought they were quite decent.
“I thought I recognised one of them, so I pointed at this lad and said ‘that’s him.’
“Then it was raining kicks. There must have been a dozen of them, at least nine.
“I usually only go out a few times a year, and this was the third time this year I had been to the pub.”
John was having a few pints at the Garthland Arms in Church Street, Lochwinnoch, before he was attacked.
Police are treating the incident as serious assault and hope anyone with information will come forward.
John, who is a painter and decorator to trade, said: “This has been my local pub for years, and I don’t usually go out very much.
“When I was being attacked they were saying a lot of abusive things and were calling me a coward because I tried to walk away.
“These young people are like a cancer – and something needs to be done to get rid of them from towns and villages.
“They were in their early 20s or even younger. They were definitely looking for trouble. I don’t think I even got the chance to put my arms around myself to protect myself.
“Lochwinnoch is usually a quiet place and I have always felt safe, but not any more.
John was initially taken to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley for treatment, and was later transferred to the Southern General in Glasgow.
The attack happened around 12.30am on Saturday and a police spokesman said: “He was kicked and punched to the ground and we hope someone might have seen something that could help our inquiries.”
Paisley Daily Express readers who have information should phone Johnstone CID on 01505 404044 or phone Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555 111.