Scottish footballing legend Sir Alex Ferguson was arrested and thrown in jail over a drunken fight when he was a young player.

The Manchester United hero, 79, has revealed he hit the bottle and went off the rails while struggling with not being a first team player at St Johnstone.

And his behaviour in the early 1960s caused such a rift with his dad, Alex senior, that the pair did not speak for two years.

Fergie, 79, who was brought up in Govan, Glasgow, said he was fined £3 for the assault after appearing in court and was then seen as a "black sheep" by his loved ones.

Alex Ferguson, far right, during the 1960 shipbuilders strike in Govan when he was an apprentice.

But bagging a hat-trick against Rangers at Ibrox healed the rift and became the turning point in a career that would ultimately see him regarded by many as the best football manager of all time.

Fergie reveals his checkered past in new documentary Sir Alex Ferguson: Never Give In, and says the period is one of the biggest regrets of his life.

He said: "I was getting despondent about football because I wasn't a first team player all the time.

"My career was going down the pan and I went off the rails a bit.

"I was going out in town and I started going out on Friday nights even, the day before a game.

"My dad would say 'You can't go to the dancing if you've got a game tomorrow.'

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"That's when we fell out. It got to a point where he said 'Go your own way and we'll see what happens,' and then we weren't talking to one another.

"For two years between 1961 and 1963 we didn't talk.

"One night I went out and I got drunk and I ended up in a fight and ended up in jail.

"I went to court and got fined £3. I was a bit of a black sheep.

"That period has always been in the back of my head and I have always regretted it.

"Here's me with the background and upbringing I had and I surrendered."

In the film, which had its world premiere at the Glasgow Film Festival at the weekend, Ferguson said he planned to emigrate to Canada after his court shame.

He tells how his life changed and his rift with his father was healed after he scored a hat-trick for St Johnstone against Rangers at Ibrox in December 1963.

He said: "It was the most important game of my life.

"I wanted to go home and see my dad because I knew he would be proud.

"I said 'What do you think dad?'. He said 'It was alright, okay,' and then he starts 'That's the boy I had.'

"We were back pals. That changed my life, it was the biggest break of my life and it was the one that mattered to me.

"After that I was committed. It was nothing but football for me."

The documentary, directed by Ferguson's son Jason, documents his recovery from a brain haemorrhage he suffered in May 2018.

He tells how he feared he would never speak again and lose his memory after waking up from emergency surgery following the near death experience.

Ferguson, who also managed Aberdeen and the Scottish national team, retired from the Old Trafford hot seat in May, 2013, after 27 years at the helm during which he won 38 trophies, including two Champions League titles.

Sir Alex Ferguson: Never Give In will be in cinemas from May 27 and on Amazon Prime from May 29.