An Aberdeenshire football coach who abused young boys has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Alasdair McCulloch, 34, carried out the offences between 1998 and 2006, and knew some of his victims – of primary school age – through coaching.

Earlier this year, McCulloch, from Fraserburgh, admitted charges of using lewd and libidinous practices towards children over eight years.

He was jailed at the High Court in Glasgow.

Defence counsel Derick Nelson said his client had a “horrific upbringing”.

Mr Nelson said McCulloch was due to become a father for the first time later this year and said he “acknowledges the harm that these offences have caused other people.”

‘Predatory individual’

Lord Arthurson told McCulloch: “In these circumstances, you will well appreciate that on any view the gravity of your offending, given the nature, the period libelled and the number and age of your victims, merits the imposition upon you today of a substantial custodial sentence.”

He was also put on the sex offenders register indefinitely.

Det Insp Mark Lambley of the Police Scotland National Child Abuse Investigation Unit, said: “McCulloch is a predatory individual, who gained the trust of his young victims, before abusing them.

“I would like to thank the victims for coming forward and speaking to officers and the court about what happened to them.

“It takes a lot of courage to do so and I hope that the victims take some comfort in the fact that their actions have resulted in McCulloch now having to face the consequences of his actions.”

Kenny Donnelly, procurator fiscal for sexual offences, said: “The fact that the victims of Alasdair McCulloch had the courage to come forward to report what had happened to them has allowed us to bring him to justice.”