We've always suspected that Glasgow (or, in its local dialect, "Glesga") is a tough town. As an Islamist terror suspect has found out.

A new 'Braveheart': The man who thumped a terror suspect on the jaw branded a 'hero'

5th July 2007
Daily Mail

Baggage handler turned hero: John Smeaton socks it to the terror suspects

Last week John Smeaton was an anonymous baggage handler from a small village outside Glasgow - today he's a hero and an internet sensation.

And what did Mr Smeaton do to deserve this accolade - and the 1,200 pints of beer pledged to him and paid for from grateful members of the public? He thumped a terror suspect squarely on the jaw.

John Smeaton has become an internet hero since describing to television cameras the moment he charged up to a man grappling with police seconds after a flaming Jeep was driven into Glasgow Airport, and belted him.

While most of us would have cowered in terror as the frenzied suspect fought with officers and fire raged around them, Mr Smeaton decided this was one man who was not going to get away.

Following the arrest of medics Bilal Abdulla and Khalid Ahmed, both 27, at the airport on Saturday, a clearly animated Smeaton delightedly explained to television reporters how he had decked one of the men re-enacting his punch with gusto.

The public were clearly taken with the romantic notion of an ordinary man helping to foil a potential mass murder scenario and a website, www.johnsmeaton.com (external - login to view), was dedicated to his bravery.

Watch out, John Smeaton's about: Don't mess with Glasgow!

During one of his television interviews afterwards, which was broadcast around the world, he described how his first thought on being confronted by the two suspects in the burning vehicle was: "What's the score? I've got to get this sorted."

He continued: "I managed to knock him down, I caught him a blow with my elbow," re-enacting his knockdown.

And, later warning potential terrorists to leave Scotland well alone, he said: "This is Glasgow. We'll just set aboot ye."

The punch: Live on TV John re-enacts the moment he landed one on the suspect

The interviews were subsequently posted on the website YouTube and have been viewed a staggering 200,000 times, making Mr Smeaton, from Erskine, Renfrewshire a global hero.

In addition more than 1,200 pints of beer have been paid for over the internet for Mr Smeaton - described online as the "modern day William Wallace - to sup at his leisure at the bar of the Holiday Inn at Glasgow Airport.

Super Smeaton saves the day

So how has the man himself reacted to the attention being lavished upon him? Strangely enough, fairly modestly.

While resting on doctor's orders he told one Scottish newspaper: "I do not regard myself as a hero as I was only doing what other people may have done in similar circumstances."

Quaking: Even Bin Laden is feelin Smeaton's heat

May the force be with him: John protects Scotland from the Dark Side