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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...

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

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

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.

Scottish League 1

Peterhead 0 East Fife 3: Naysmith hails Fife display

August 15 2016

East Fife continued their fine start to the season with a comfortable victory away to last season’s Challenge Cup runners-up Peterhead. Gary Naismith’s side looked impressive from the kick-off as goals from Jason Kerr, Kevin Smith and Mark Lamont sealed an impressive win to leave them second – two points behind early joint leaders Alloa, Livingston and Brechin. Fife took the lead after five minutes. A Lamont corner found the unmarked Kerr, who bulleted a header into the back of the net. The hosts – who had lost their previous two games 5-0 and 4-0 – came close to equalising on the quarter-hour but Jamie Redman’s header was cleared off the line. Three minutes later Smith went on a surging run down the left but his shot-cum-cross went beyond the far post. A minute into first half added time the visitors doubled their lead with a replica of their opener. Another Lamont corner from the left was again badly defended and this time Smith found the net. There was a glimmer of a chance for the Blue Toon early in the second half, Fifers keeper Willie Muir sprinting out of his area and distracting Leighton McIntosh enough for him to shoot wide. On the hour Graeme Smith saved a Kyle Wilkie 20-yarder but just six minutes it was 3-0. A free-kick was driven low and hard through a ruck of players by Lamont and into the net for another shocker of a goal from a Peterhead point of view. Fife boss Naismith “I thought we started well and grabbed the second goal just at the right time as I felt Peterhead were coming more into the game. “We went a bit more attacking in the second half, going with two up front and that was as easy a half as you are going to get up here. We managed to nullify the Peterhead attack.”

Football

Rangers 2 Dundee United 0: Tangerines’ Euro hopes now rest with Old Firm

May 11 2011

Dundee United will now need to count on the Old Firm in order to qualify for Europe after defeat at Ibrox meant they will finish the SPL season in fourth place. The Tangerines were then ripped apart by Rangers on 25 minutes as Smith's men made it two. A brilliant run by Naismith through the heart of the United defence was given the perfect finish when the Scotland man played in Lafferty, who drilled the ball low into the net from 15 yards. United had been swept up in a blue tide of attacking play and they had to somehow find a way back into the game. Just before the break they at least gave the home defence something to think about when Watson whipped in a cross that was plucked off the head of Scott Robertson by McGregor. The Tannadice men made a switch at half-time, bringing on Daly in place of Johnny Russell. With 53 minutes gone, Rangers should have made it three when Jelavic raced down the right wing before swinging the ball across goal, where it should have been tapped in by Lafferty. As the hour approached, however, United were enjoying a fair bit of possession in the opposition half, with crosses just getting cut out and timely tackles being made by the home defenders. Pernis did well to hold on to a Lafferty low strike on 67 minutes before Scott Robertson tested McGregor with a header. That was Robertson's last contribution as he was replaced by Prince Buaben with 20 minutes to go, then was followed by David Robertson, who made way for Stuart Armstrong. A Jelavic free-kick cleared the United bar by a few inches, then the Croat had a header off a Steve Davis cross saved by Pernis. United sub Armstrong got his head on to a ball delivered into the box by Conway but McGregor easily gathered. The goalie was called into more serious action on 81 minutes when a Madjid Bougherra slip let in Goodwillie, who fed Daly. The striker cracked in a netbound shot that McGregor parried over. The Tangerines were now making the title-chasers sweat and, on 82 minutes, young Armstrong smashed a 30-yard strike off McGregor's right-hand post, with the keeper getting a touch onto the woodwork that shook for a few seconds afterwards. With United's purple patch not producing a goal, Whittaker tried his luck at the other end with a low shot that was palmed away by Pernis.Smith's goodbyeAfter the final whistle the stage was left clear for Smith to say an emotional goodbye to the Rangers fans and this result now means it is odd-on that his parting gift to them will likely be another league trophy. His assistant Ally McCoist later made it clear the lap of honour was to pay tribute to Smith and not a premature championship celebration. "That was for Walter Smith and for Walter Smith only," he said. "Our players and management are not taking anything for granted at all. "No way are we being disrespectful to Kilmarnock and the championship is far from won." Smith himself added, "It was a good win for us |because Dundee United have always been awkward opponents for us. Arguably in the second half they had the better of the play but for the first half-hour we played exceptionally well and overall deserved to win the game. "We got into a position where we had to win three games and we have won two of them now. "The most important thing was the victory but it was a nice reception for me and I would thank the supporters for staying behind. Usually when you are a manager leaving a club it is because you're sacked so I am leaving in a more pleasant manner than that." Attendance 49,267.Rangers McGregor, Weir, Papac, Edu, Davis, Lafferty (Foster 89), Naismith, Whittaker, Jelavic (Diouf), Bougherra, Wylde (McCulloch 65). Subs not used Alexander, Fleck, Healy, Hutton.Dundee United Pernis, Dixon, Watson, Severin, Kenneth, S. Robertson (Buaben 70), D. Robertson (Armstrong 73), Conway, Gomis, Goodwillie, Russell (Daly 46). Subs not used Banks, Dillon, Douglas, Shala.Referee Calum Murray. With Hearts now uncatchable in third, the Tangerines need a Rangers title win then a Scottish Cup success for Celtic to return to the continental arena. Of course, that double is a highly likely outcome, with the Hoops favourites to see off Motherwell at Hampden on May 21 and the Light Blues seemingly unstoppable in their quest for a third successive SPL crown. There had been some winding-up going on in the build-up to the match, with Parkhead boss Neil Lennon stating he hoped United would be trying to take points off the Light Blues. Well they did try and tested the hosts' nerve in the second half in particular. Rangers were just on song in a dynamic first period that saw them score first through Nikica Jelavic then Kyle Lafferty. It was all set up for the Light Blues, too, with this being manager Walter Smith's final home game in charge. They will now watch with interest when Celtic go to Tynecastle tonight, before they finish off the season down at Kilmarnock on Sunday. As for the Tannadice men, they should be proud of finishing fourth in what was always going to be a tough campaign, coming after last term's Scottish Cup glory. When you factor in the remarkable amount of injuries that ruled out key men for long spells particularly in central defence then the fans should turn up in good numbers on Sunday for the visit of the Jam Tarts and show their appreciation. "We are going to finish fourth now and I would like to say congratulations to Hearts for clinching third spot," said manager Peter Houston. I think what we have done is as good an achievement as finishing third last season. "When I look back on the season and consider all the problems that have come before this club, with the injuries to key players, we have done really well. "Indeed, since the turn of the year the players have been outstanding and I can't praise them highly enough. "I could pick massive faults in the way we defended the goals tonight. From a coaching point of view I can pick holes in it but it (the 2-0 scoreline) was probably no more than Rangers deserved at that stage. "I would like to have scored a goal to see how Rangers reacted. There were spells in the second half when we looked like we could score and they could have gotten edgy." The Tangerines lined up with eight of the 11 who started their memorable 3-2 win here on April 2. The injured Danny Swanson didn't make it this time, while Sean Dillon and Barry Douglas were on the bench.Daly benchedHouston also named Jon Daly as a substitute despite the big Irishman bagging a hat-trick against Motherwell at the weekend, with the Light Blues unchanged from Saturday's convincing victory over Hearts. Birmingham boss and former Rangers gaffer Alex McLeish was in the crowd, probably to wish Smith well but also to watch Tannadice striker David Goodwillie. The Gers supporters were determined to mark the last home match of Smith's reign, fittingly being played against the team that gave him his break in coaching under Jim McLean. One banner declared, "For deeds done and glories won, thank you Walter." Not all of the Ibrox fans got it right, though, with another reading, "Walter Legned." The atmosphere inside the stadium was electric, with the home support clearly expecting to take a significant step to a third successive title. The Tangerines' task was to silence the stands. With just a couple of minutes gone, United right-back Keith Watson was the first to worry the opposition with a decent shot that didn't fly too far over keeper Allan McGregor's bar. There were loud shouts for a penalty for Rangers when Steven Naismith burst into the United box before falling but the pleas were a tad optimistic and ref Calum Murray waved play on. Naismith and Jelavic combined to almost lay the ball on a plate for Lafferty on 13 minutes but United keeper Dusan Pernis dived at the Northern Ireland international's feet to save. Jelavic headed wide as the visitors were pushed back and only the post saved United on the quarter-hour mark when Lafferty smashed in a shot that beat Pernis. Jelavic found space up the left but could only fire harmlessly over on 20 minutes but the Ibrox side only had another 60 seconds to wait for the opener. Steven Whittaker played a deep ball in from the right and Jelavic clipped a perfect header beyond Pernis to make it 1-0.

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.

Football

Scots squad urged to grow up and fight for futures

March 28 2013

Steven Naismith insists Scotland’s players will be battling for their international careers in the remaining World Cup qualifiers. Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat to Serbia officially ended hopes of a place at Brazil in 2014, as Gordon Strachan’s men became the first European nation to have their fate sealed. The Scots have so far failed to secure a win in a dismal campaign, which has seen them collect just two points from six games. Home and away meetings with Croatia, as well as the visit of Belgium and a trip to Macedonia, still lie ahead. Naismith said: “We’ve got very tough games but the players are playing for their future international careers. “I said earlier in the week that I think we’ve got to grow up in terms of digging in and being mature about when we need to sit in and soak up the pressure and when we need to expand and try to go for the goals. “As players, that’s what you need to do or you’re going to find yourself out of the national team.” Naismith disagreed with former Wales winger Mickey Thomas’s claim that the current players are the “worst Scotland team ever”. The forward said: “The statistics don’t lie but I think we are a better team than what he was saying. To be honest, I don’t think too many in the dressing room are paying too much attention to what a Welshman is saying about the Scottish national team.” A second-half double by striker Filip Duricic sunk the Scots on a depressing night in Serbia. Naismith said: “Both teams did as well as they could, the difference was in both boxes. “We didn’t take our chances and we probably gave up easier goals than we would like to be conceding. “If you look at the team overall, it was maybe a bit of inexperience. “We got to grips with it and, as the game went on, we gave more than we did in the first 20 minutes. Then, we’re in their box, they make the save and go up the park and score. “It was a tough pitch to create chances and take them. But I think with the defensive side of things we won’t be happy.” Scotland striker Steven Fletcher suffered ankle ligament damage in Friday’s game with Wales and will miss the rest of the season. It was a second blow for Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill after midfielder Lee Cattermole underwent surgery on a persistent knee problem which rules him out until the summer.

International

Steven Naismith has had enough of being a Scotland nearly man

November 10 2016

Steven Naismith has been on the Scotland scene long enough to have built up a bigger collection than most of “oh so close” greatest hits. So it is with a fair amount of authority that the experienced Norwich City forward suggests the time has come to give the nation an occasion that is “oh so good”. Naismith has amassed his 43 caps over the best part of a decade. There have been very good Scotland performances in that period, sometimes against the very good teams. Sealing a win that would turn a campaign or define a generation has proved beyond any of the national sides he has been a part of however. And there’s a determination to change all that with a Wembley win tomorrow night. “I’ve been in so many games where it has been “unlucky’,” he said. “It’s crap at the end of the day. “Holland at home, we played great. Get beat 1-0. Against Spain, the world champions, we concede in the last minute and lose 3-2. “There have been so many games like that. Hopefully we are due one, like people say. We have been ‘oh so close’ so many times. It is about time that we do change. “Against Spain, okay, I scored a great goal against a great team. But we got beat. Over my time in the international team, it has been like that for too long. “We have got match-winners. You look at Snoddy. He comes back at the weekend there and is a match-winner. “We maybe don’t have as many of those players as some, but we do have guys with quality who can do damage. “I don’t think it’s about luck. There might be a small element of that but we can’t accept the hard luck story. It’s easy to say that because it has been and gone and it’s 'we tried our best'. But we want to do better than that. “Like at the Euros when you see everyone else going. We want to be there. “Everybody is like that in the squad. No-one saunters along thinking they are happy to be here. There is a drive to be there.” Does it rankle being classed as a nearly man in nearly teams? “It does, aye,” Naismith admitted. “The guys who are playing in England are coming up against these top quality players on a regular basis. “In my time at Everton, we gave a fair few of them a run for their money and beat them comfortably with some good performances. “So you can do it. You definitely can do it. “There’s probably only been one team where I’ve thought it was something else and that was Spain when they were the world champions. “Against everyone else, I’ve felt we have gone into the games thinking we can get a result, that we can do it. That has got to be the belief to get us there.” Recent Scottish performances against big European football nations and a personal memory bank of the underdog having his day are fuelling Naismith’s conviction that tomorrow’s match is winnable. The 30-year-old said: “In games against Germany and Poland we went into them confident and looked solid and that’s what we need to be on Friday. “The England squad has great quality which can win you a game. We maybe don’t have as many individual match-winners but what we have is a good team spirit and a good group of guys who understand the game and know what is expected of them. “That can go a long way. “People will be writing us off all week and saying we have no chance. But there are a number of occasions when teams who supposedly have no chance end up winning. “I’ve played in a few of those in the past and I think this will be closer than people are predicting. “There was a League Cup Final for Rangers against Celtic. Celtic had been doing well and had beaten us in the last game. But Jelavic scored the winner in extra time. “It’s maybe even similar to the game in Poland last time. We ended up drawing it but in the end we thought we should have won.” Naismith is doing his best to strip this match of its bells and whistles. “As a player you need to see it as the next game,” he said. “You can’t look too much into it because it will drive you crazy. “Where we are in the campaign, we need a good result. Not because it is England but because we have had a couple of poor results. “I think the younger boys playing in Scotland will maybe have a bigger feeling coming up against guys they have only ever seen on TV highlights in the Premier League. “But the more experienced boys will take it as just another game. “I don’t think anyone would be looking at this one result as an amazing result. We’ll look back at the end of the campaign and see what game was a turning point. But if we get a great result and then don’t get to the finals or the play-offs then it’s another failure.” Naismith has carved a reputation for himself as a man for the big occasion and he is hoping that will enter manager Gordon Strachan’s thinking when he’s putting his Wembley team together. He said: “This game is slightly different because there could potentially be a few changes and I just need to hope I do enough so the manager says ‘aye, he’ll do for me’. “I definitely hope the manager looks at it and thinks I have done it in the past and he can rely on me. I just have to make sure I am ready – and I have done it enough in my career to be ready.”

Football

Naysmith stresses need for consistency despite cup thrashing

October 7 2014

East Fife player-manager Gary Naysmith watched his side rout Threave Rovers to make the Scottish Cup third round but said he still expects more from the Fifers. The Methil men had little trouble seeing off their Lowland League visitors with the match ended as a contest by the end of the first half as the Fifers went in four goals up. However, despite the eventual seven goals they scored and a clean sheet, boss Naysmith said his men still have things to work on. He said: “For the standards that I set for the lads I thought we were a little bit sloppy at times. “I’m not criticising their professionalism I just want them to strive to be the best they can be in every game and parts of the game were sloppy. “We need to have some consistency. We can’t just drop it against Threave and then expect to pick it up next week again against Clyde. But that’s maybe me just being picky because we’re in the next round of the cup and have scored seven goals.” Nathan Austin opened the scoring when he swept home a loose ball inside the opening few minutes before going on to add number two after bursting through the Threave backline. Jon McShane increased the damage when he nodded home at the back post with Austin going on to complete his hat-trick before the break. Number five came when McShane bagged his second goal after he was played in on goal by Kevin Smith. Ross Campbell was handed a rare start for East Fife but he impressed by scoring his first goal for the club as he fired in off the post. The rout was completed late on by Caolan McAleer who beat Vincent Parker. Naysmith added: “What was also important for me is that I got minutes into people who needed them. We have a run of games where we’re going to need the whole squad.”

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