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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...


Dunfermline wary of Ross County’s ‘Calderwood factor’

February 18 2011

A Ross County side fired up by a former manager returning to a dug-out for the first time this season is probably the last type of opponent Dunfermline would have chosen for Saturday afternoon, but that's exactly what they're going to get. The Dingwall club have unveiled ex-Pars boss Jimmy Calderwood as their replacement for the sacked Willie McStay until the end of the season, and the East End Park clash is the first instalment of a Dunfermline against Ross County four-day double-header. Current Pars boss Jim McIntyre said, "It will obviously add extra spice to the occasion. "It was the same when we played his Aberdeen team in the Scottish Cup a couple of years ago." He added, "This game would have been difficult enough even before you take into account the Jimmy Calderwood factor, because I don't feel they've got the results that you would expect from their squad of players. "Obviously, with the postponed match up in Dingwall being rearranged for Tuesday, we've now got them back to back. But they'll be two totally different games." Calderwood admitted that he could stay at County for the long term after being appointed manager until the end of the season. He has been without a job since saving Kilmarnock from relegation in a short-term post last season and has been handed the same target by the first division side's chairman Roy MacGregor.'Very exciting'Calderwood said, "I was obviously out the game this season. There were a few things that I thought might be happening, all abroad, and never materialised. "I'm not one for sitting about the house. "People that have been up here and I have a lot of respect for Craig Brewster, Alex Smith, Dick Campbell have always spoke very highly of the club, the set-up and facilities. "The chairman is a very successful businessman but his enthusiasm and plans for the club are very exciting." He added, "We'll have a look at each other until the end of the season and we'll see what happens. "It gets me out training again, which is what I love. It's my life and it's difficult being on the outside looking in." Meanwhile, McIntyre revealed that winger Paul Willis has been loaned to second division Ayr United for a month.

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.


Peter Houston changing perceptions

November 24 2015

Reputations are hard to rewrite in football, particularly for managers. Ally MacLeod will forever be remembered as the loveable but woefully misguided Scotland manager who wasn’t able to come good on his pre-Argentina boasts. Craig Levein is Mr No-strikers. Terry Butcher is the man who presided over one of the most spectacular demises in Scottish football history at Hibs. And Jimmy Calderwood is the firefighter not to be trusted with a long-term rebuild. The other stuff (MacLeod’s accomplishments at Aberdeen and winning at Wembley, Levein’s success at Dundee United and Hearts, Butcher’s excellent work at Inverness, and Calderwood’s longevity at East End Park and Pittodrie) gets pushed to the margins. So when one of them does manage to alter perceptions it really is an achievement. And Peter Houston has done just that. His good stuff at Dundee United (winning a Scottish Cup and guiding them to consistent top six finishes) was shunted down the page when he departed Tannadice. Houston was the guy who didn’t have faith in United’s kids and ran for the hills when budgets were cut. And then he was mocked when Gauld, Armstrong and co. started tika-taking their way across the Premiership. Quotes like these were cast up against him: “For a manager the most important thing is to maintain success on the park. However, that’s getting harder and harder. The budget is getting cut again in the summer and I want to be part of a successful Dundee United. “We have some very good up-and-coming young players but they are not ready to be first-team material every week. I have told the board of directors my concerns that if we continue to cut we will not be able to compete on the pitch.” But now at Falkirk, the same Peter Houston has put his faith in Falkirk’s kids and is happy to operate under strict budget constraints. The very fact that he’s prospering with buttons and Bairns is laced with irony given the nature of his departure from Tannadice. And he’s enjoying it. Back when he was sat in the United boardroom explaining the reasons for his exit that scenario would have seemed as likely as York City becoming a route one team under Jackie McNamara. Houston may well forever regret underestimating the talent that was at his disposal at United, or it may just have been a case of manager-club fatigue kicking in and the relationship had run its course. But what isn’t in doubt is the fine job he has done in first taking Falkirk to a Scottish Cup final, and then getting the club in the thick of a Championship promotion race after losing some of his best players. It’s almost as if Houston has become the exact opposite of the manager we’d begun to perceive him as, maybe even the exact opposite of the manager he thought he was. It’s a new-found reputation that has a good chance of sticking.

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km


Former Dunfermline Athletic manager Jimmy Calderwood is battling Alzheimer’s

August 16 2017

Former Dunfermline Athletic manager Jimmy Calderwood has revealed he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. The 62-year-old was given the news two years ago and has decided to go public to help raise awareness of the illness. The former Birmingham player - who coached Dunfermline Athletic, Aberdeen, Ross County, Kilmarnock and several Dutch clubs - made the announcement with the support of charity Alzheimer Scotland. Mr Calderwood is also on the Cowdenbeath board. Speaking today he said: "If, by making this public I can help others talk more openly about dementia, then that will be something positive. That is why I have spoken with Alzheimer Scotland and invited them along to join me today. "I haven't been comfortable with keeping this as a secret and when I recently heard that an old team mate of mine in Holland is also living with Alzheimer's Disease, it prompted me to go public. "Right now I am still fine, except for being a bit forgetful with some names but I am determined to continue enjoying my life." Calderwood spent five seasons at Dunfermline, leading the team to promotion in his first season at the helm, and their highest ever Scottish Premiership positition (4th) in the 2003-04 season. They also made it into the 2004 Scottish Cup Final. Calderwood, who left his last management job as De Graafschap boss in early 2014, added: "It was actually my partner, Yvonne, who noticed I was getting a wee bit forgetful and she insisted that I go and get checked out. "I suppose I am a typical West of Scotland man of my generation and the last thing I think about is going to the doctor with anything I think of as just being minor. But I am grateful to her because now I know I have it I can do what I can to fight against it. "Right now I am keeping myself as fit as I can by going to the gym two or three times a week and I watch a lot of football, both on the television and by going to games. Also, I go down to Birmingham a couple of times a season to see my old pals in the Birmingham ex-Players Association and watch matches there. "I have also been contacted by a number of journalists for my views on certain aspects of football and I've got no trouble in being able to give them as I am still up to date with what's going on in the game, so I hope to keep hearing from them." Jim Pearson, director of policy and research at Alzheimer Scotland, said: "By sharing his story, Jimmy is making a powerful contribution to helping other people, their families and friends, to talk more openly and come forward earlier for help and support if they are worried about their memory or other changes that they have noticed. Dementia knows no boundaries and affects people in every walk of life."

Motoring news

Form an orderly Q for Audi SUV

August 10 2016

First there was the Q7. Then the Q5 and Q3. All have been a phenomenal success for Audi. I’d be surprised if that script changes when the Q2 arrives in November. Audi’s baby SUV is available to order now with prices starting at £22,380. Can’t quite stretch to that? Don’t worry, an entry level three-cylinder 1.0 litre version will be available later this year with a cover tag of £20,230. From launch, there are three trim levels available for the Q2 called SE, Sport and S Line. The range-topping Edition #1 model will be available to order from next month priced from £31,170. While the entry-level 113bhp 1.0-litre unit isn’t available right away, engines you can order now include a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit, both with manual or S tronic automatic transmissions. Also joining the Q2 line-up from September is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp. This unit comes with optional Quattro all-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre petrol with Quattro and S tronic joins the range next year. Standard equipment for the new Audi Q2 includes a multimedia infotainment system with rotary/push-button controls, supported with sat-nav. Audi’s smartphone-friendly interface, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and heated and electric mirrors are all also standard for the Audi. Along with the optional Audi virtual cockpit and the head-up display, the driver assistance systems for the Audi Q2 also come from the larger Audi models – including the Audi pre sense front with pedestrian recognition that is standard. The system recognises critical situations with other vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing in front of the vehicle, and if necessary it can initiate hard braking – to a standstill at low speeds. Other systems in the line-up include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, traffic jam assist, the lane-departure warning system Audi side assist, the lane-keeping assistant Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic assist.


Tam Cowan and Stuart Cosgrove ‘talking balls’ at Dunfermline Athletic FC fundraiser

March 18 2016

Tam Cowan is well used to talking balls on the radio. But he’s juggling balls of a different kind when The Courier calls him at home. “Can I phone you back in 10 minutes? I’ve got to sort the wean!” he says. The 46-year-old football journalist, radio and TV presenter is a fixture of Saturday afternoons for thousands of Scottish football fans. He presents the popular BBC Radio Scotland football show ‘Off the Ball’ with Perth-born co-presenter Stuart Cosgrove. Together they bring satire, sarcasm, banter and wit to the airwaves before and after the afternoon’s big games, presenting “the most petty and ill-informed football show of them all”. But Motherwell FC-supporting Tam and St Johnstone-supporting Stuart will be casting their football differences aside when they present a one-off live version of ‘Off the Ball’ to raise funds for Dunfermline Athletic’s Pars Supporters’ Trust (PST). “It’s not the first time we’ve done a live show, and not the first time I’ve been involved with something to help the club, but this one was basically down to the Barbara Dickson factor,” Tam explains. “When we had her on Off the Ball, the last time Dunfermline Athletic were really in dire straits, we cajoled her on air into doing a gig for Dunfermline. She agreed and it went ahead at the Alhambra. “To be fair to Drew Main from the PST he then got in touch and asked when we were going to do our bit. We felt morally obliged to help.” As usual with Off the Ball, audience participation will play a big part, and just like the radio programme, the live show will include guest appearances. “The first half will see me and Stuart take questions and we might get a few audience members on stage, “ says Tam. “The second half will be a bit like ‘Parkinson’. We’ve got Hearts legend and all-time leading goal scorer John Robertson, former manager Jimmy Calderwood and of course Jim Leishman. We’ll take the pish of the panel. It’s not very often a Motherwell and St Johnstone fan can sit there and sneer at teams from the lower leagues where we’ve never been of course! “But to be honest, in-keeping with the radio show, we’re not sure how it’ll go. We’ll leave the course of how it goes to the audience see what the punters want.” It’s almost 20 years since Tam and Stuart hosted their first show together. They didn’t know each other beforehand. But it was their similar upbringings which helped them bond. Tam laughs: “He’s always called me a big lump of Lanarkshire lard and he’s a big Perthshire so-and-so (sic)! He’s all high-brow and convoluted on air with his nine university degrees etc! “But we had very similar upbringings, brought up in housing schemes in Motherwell and Perth respectively. Another important bond is that we both support wee diddy teams. If one of us supported Celtic or Rangers, it could be a very different dynamic.” Tam is looking forward to a lively evening in Dunfermline especially now that the Pars are “hosing” Scottish League One. He will, however, be telling the audience to switch of their mobile phones. “We’ve always enjoyed a long leish on air with the BBC. In this era of camera phones we need to be a bit careful. I’m an expert at spotting phone lights. I’ve got great antenna!” *Off the Ball Live with Tam Cowan and Stuart Cosgrove is at the Glen Pavilion, Dunfermline, on Tuesday March 22.For more information go to www.ticketsource.co.uk


Ross County v Dunfermline FC: Gary Mason wary of Staggies

February 22 2011

Dunfermline's Gary Mason hopes his former manager Jimmy Calderwood is a great success as the new boss of Ross County-as long as that success starts after the Pars play the Staggies tonight in Dingwall. Mason and the rest of the Dunfermline squad travel north determined not to lose any more ground on local rivals and first division pace-setters Raith Rovers. The Kirkcaldy side won at a canter at the weekend against Cowdenbeath to go four points ahead of the Pars who were idle after their own game was postponed due to a waterlogged East End Park. Now, Mason who played under Calderwood when he was Dunfermline boss, heads to Dingwall in determined mood but still wary that the Staggies are a far better side than their position sitting second bottom of the table would suggest. "It is a real plus point that we have another game so soon after the disappointment of Saturday's postponement," he said. "The call-off was frustrating as you train all week to enjoy a game on Saturday. "However, we now travel to face Ross County and will be going all out to take the three points. Rovers won at the weekend while we were not playing but we just need to take care of ourselves first and foremost. Raith got a good result and we will have to do the same in Dingwall. "County have struggled this season which has really surprised me. "They should not be in the position they are in with the squad they have. But it is not an easy place to go to and we have to make sure we are up for the game and in the right frame of mind, especially as they will be determined to put on a good display for their new boss. "Jimmy Calderwood is a very good manager and I had some great times playing under him. I am sure he will get the best out of the County players but hopefully not in his first game in charge."Goal droughtMason has yet to open his goal account this season but the midfielder insists the drought is something which does not concern him. "It would be nice to score but as long as someone else is putting the ball in the net and we are picking up victories, then it is not something I will allow to worry me," he added. "Obviously, I would be delighted if it was me scoring a goal that helped us win but the result is the main thing which matters." Mason's boss Jim McIntyre has admitted that he is also wary of the new manager boost County will have received, but insists his side are determined to begin a winning run that he hopes will take them back to the top of the table and ultimately win them promotion. "I think Ross County have underachieved this year," he said. "They have good players and in my opinion are in a false position. "But the players will be desperate to impress their new manager so we will have to guard against that and make sure we do what we are good at.Dunfermline's Steven Bell and Andy Dowie will miss tonight's game through injury.