Glasgow, 1973. Young John McGill is about to go to high school. A brilliant student, his path is nevertheless far from being laid out for him, what with his violent father and his prejudiced teachers, who haven't forgotten his "irretrievable" older brother, Benny, who's become a member of the Neds.
The Neds (Non-Educated Delinquents), dangerous young thugs, wage a reign of terror over the neighborhood. Benny's reputation ensures John's protection and very quickly opens the gang's doors to him. Overcome with fear and resentment, John, wild with rage, chooses his camp. If no one else is ready to give him his chance, they can all go to hell.