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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...

Dundee United

Dundee United 0 Hibs 1: Title looks beyond Tangerines as they lose crunch clash

March 10 2017

The Championship title looks to be in the bag for Hibs after they beat 10-man Dundee United in the crunch clash at Tannadice. United were right up against it when Lewis Toshney sold the jerseys, earning a second yellow card then a red for a tackle Andrew Shinnie - also the victim of his first booking offence - on just 31 minutes. That handed Hibs all the encouragement they needed and Neil Lennon’s men went 1-0 up six minutes before the break when Jason Cummings slammed the ball home. Cummings then made it 10 versus 10 on 76 minutes when he got sent off for using a hand to put the ball into United net just minutes after getting a first booking. United huffed and puffed but, in the end, they blew their golden opportunity to close the gap. That all means the Easter Road side are now 10 points ahead of third-placed United and nine clear of Falkirk in second spot. Surely, Hibs won’t throw it away now, while Ray McKinnon’s players are, realistically, left battling it out with the Bairns and Morton to decide the play-off pecking order. The Tangerines had made three changes from the team that started the 1-1 draw against Morton last time out. Back from injury came Toshney, while also recalled were winger Alex Nicholls and striker Simon Murray. That meant Charlie Telfer, Nick van der Velden and Thomas Mikkelsen all dropped down to the bench. Darren McGregor started in central defence for the visitors after suspension, with Jordan Forster named as a substitute. The atmosphere was electric as the team came out of the tunnel, United in their traditional tangerine and Hibs in fluorescent green. With three minutes on the clock it was the Hibees who had the first shot at goal, albeit a never-going-in effort from 40 yards from Lewis Stevenson. United’s Scott Fraser thought he had won a freekick just outside the Hibs box a minute later but instead was booked for diving by referee Don Robertson. Cummings then broke clear for the visitors only to be flagged offside – much to the relief of the home fans. With the match into its 11th minute, there was a rather muted demonstration against Tannadice chairman Stephen Thompson, with a small number of fans holding aloft yellow flags and banners in the Eddie Thompson Stand. There was a bad mistake from United defender Mark Durnan a couple of minutes later as he was well short with a header back to keeper Cammy Bell, who did well to rescue the situation as Cummings tried to clip the ball over him. Toshney became the second home player to be booked on 17 minutes for a challenge on Shinnie in the centre circle. That was to prove a costly one. With 24 minutes gone, United broke forward when Scott Fraser played in Murray but the Tannadice frontman was clattered by David Gray at the edge of the box, a foul that earned the Hibs captain a caution. Nicholls took the freekick but it was blocked. There was then a disaster for United on 31 minutes when Toshney was sent off for another booking, dished out for another rash tackle on Shinnie. That was the last thing the Tangerines needed on such a big night for the club and Toshney would have to answer to his teammates for leaving them short-handed with an hour to play. Predictably, that handed the psychological advantage to Hibs and they took the lead on 39 minutes. Cummings was the scorer, taking a Shinnie pass on his chest before drilling a fine strike past Bell as the United defenders claimed in vain for offside. United’s Dixon was booked after the restart for a foul on Martin Boyle then the yellows kept on coming as Shinnie was cautioned for bringing down Nicholls. William Edjenguele of the home team and Grant Holt of the away side also had their names put in the book after a bit of a tussle on the floor. The Tangerines took off Tony Andreu for Mikkelsen on 63 minutes before Hibs squandered a golden chance to make it 2-0 when Boyle blasted over when unmarked just outside the six-yard box. On 76 minutes, though, United were given a chance to get back into it. Cummings had picked up a booking for throwing the ball away after being given offside. Just three minutes later, he used a hand to put the ball into United’s net, leaving ref Robertson with no option but to send him off. That red card was as daft as Toshney’s and it was now 10 versus 10. United, who by now had pushed defender Durnan up front, had keeper Bell to thank for a brilliant save off a vicious Shinnie shot on 81 minutes. With four minutes to go, a Dixon freekick was deflected just wide of the post as the hosts tried to rescue a draw but it the three points and probably the title headed back to Easter Road. Attendance: 9,532. Dundee United: Bell, Dixon, Durnan, Toshney, Murray, Fraser (Van der Velden 84), Nicholls, Edjenguele, Flood, Andreu (Mikkelsen 63), Van der Struijk. Subs not used: Zwick, Dillon, Murdoch, Telfer, Robson. Hibernian: Marciano, Gray, Bartley (Fyvie 68), McGinn, Holt (Graham 78), Stevenson, Boyle (Forster 87), Shinnie, McGregor, Ambrose, Cummings. Subs not used: Laidlaw, Keatings, Crane, Martin. Referee: Don Robertson.

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

UK & World

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.

Dundee United

ICT think United game will shape their season

February 24 2015

Caley Thistle captain Graeme Shinnie reckons the outcome of tonight’s game against Dundee United will shape his side’s season. Third-placed Inverness travel to Tannadice seven points clear of their opponents, with Saturday’s 3-3 draw against Kilmarnock stretching their unbeaten run to nine games. Were the Caley Jags to maintain their current position until the end of the season they would qualify for the Europa League for the first time in their 21-year history and Shinnie believes John Hughes’ men can take a huge stride towards achieving that with a victory this evening. Left-back Shinnie will leave in the summer having signed a pre-contract with Aberdeen but is determined to end his Caley Thistle career on a high. Shinnie said: “It’s a game that will probably define where we finish. If we win, we’re 10 points clear which is a big margin at this time in the season. If they beat us, they’re straight back in it. We’ll just look to go there and do the best we can. Hopefully, we come away with three points. “Although we were frustrated we didn’t win on Saturday, we’ve been very good since the start of the year. We now look forward to the Dundee United game and will look to do the business there. They lost on Saturday which meant we gained another point on them.” Shinnie was disappointed his side squandered the opportunity to establish an even bigger lead over United with a victory on Saturday, having squandered the lead on three occasions against Killie. However, the 23-year-old felt misfortune was his side’s undoing and has urged the Caley Jags to focus on the positives ahead of tonight’s encounter. Shinnie added: “It was frustrating more than anything. We were frustrated because we lost three goals at home. But it was three freak goals. Maybe the third goal wasn’t but for the first one the ball hit the guy on the head and fell into his path, and the second one was a great free kick, but it hit the post and hit the goalkeeper and went in. “Although we lost three goals there was nothing we could really do about them. Scoring three goals at home, we think we should be winning the game, so that’s the frustrating part.” Despite commanding a clear advantage in third place, Shinnie reckons Inverness have not received the credit they have deserved. However, the Aberdeen-born defender is happy for his side to continue to drift under the radar. He added: “We never really get plaudits and we’re not too bothered about that. We do our business and go along happily and we’ll continue to do that.”

Dundee FC

Dundee 1 Inverness CT 4: Friday night is fright night for Dark Blues

October 20 2012

The scary thing for Dundee fans is that Halloween will have been and gone by the time they get another chance to record a first home win of this SPL season. A 4-1 defeat to Inverness Caley Thistle at Dens Park on Friday night means frustrated supporters will have to wait until November 3 and the visit of Hearts before Barry Smith"s men can next attempt to break the spell. The Dark Blues made a frightening start against ICT losing goals to Billy McKay and Gary Warren before recovering and getting one back through Colin Nish. The hosts then did okay until former Dens player Andrew Shinnie stroked home a penalty on 81 minutes and McKay netted again four minutes from time to make it a Friday night horror show for Dundee. Dens boss Smith was understandably furious with the shocking defending that proved to be so costly. "We can"t defend like that simple as that," he said. "We can"t afford to give teams two goals of a start and our defending throughout the game wasn"t good enough."See full report in Saturday's Courier

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

Dundee United

ICT 4 Dundee United 0: ‘I’d like to think it’s a temporary blip’ Dillon

October 1 2012

No league wins in five, no goals in their last four league games and second bottom of the SPL. On 23 minutes Flood sent in a low corner from the right which was met first time by Daly, although Reguero did well to parry the ball away, but United were having the best of it up to that point. So it came as something of a surprise in the 32nd minute when Inverness took the lead and fairly easily at that. Philip Roberts cut open the United defence with a pass through to Andrew Shinnie, Shinnie laid the ball off to Richie Foran and the striker was on hand to curl a superb shot into Cierzniak's top left-hand corner. Gavin Gunning had a header over the bar from a Flood corner two minutes later but United were stunned again shortly after when Inverness scored a second. Roberts again was involved as he fired in a cross from the left touchline and it was Foran again who was unmarked at the back post to head home. The visitors looked rattled and John Rankin was lucky to escape with a yellow card when he cynically clipped Andrew Shinnie's heels in the 38th minute, while David Raven's cross-cum-shot gave United another scare a minute later when it hit the top of the crossbar. United boss Peter Houston had work to do at the break and he made a double substitution, with John Rankin and Michael Gardyne making way for Ryan Dow and Stuart Armstrong. But that almost proved academic 30 seconds into the second half when Andrew Shinnie was again given space to bear down on the United back line and shoot wide of Cierzniak's left-hand post. Aaron Doran then screwed a shot over from Foran's cut-back as Thistle threatened again, but Reguero was called into action at the other end in 52 minutes to tip over a Daly header. Flood's foul on Shinnie 20 yards out gave Thistle another chance on the hour mark but Gavin Morrison blasted the free-kick over the bar. With 25 minutes remaining, there was some encouragement for the travelling support as Keith Watson found space by beating Roberts in midfield before sending a good drive just off target. But any hope they had disappeared 20 minutes from time when Andrew Shinnie took advantage of a defensive mix-up to net Inverness' third from close range. Just seconds after sub Mark Millar was booked, Inverness made it 4-0. United again failed to clear their lines properly and the ball fell to Roberts who sent a blistering shot into Cierzniak's top left-hand corner from the angle of the box. Gary Warren was the last player in the referee's notebook four minutes from the end for a foul on Russell, but by that point a large number of the United fans had already headed for the exits. ''If there's a self destruct button to hit, we certainly know how to hit them because I felt the first half hour we were the team that were in the ascendancy,'' said Houston. ''We looked dangerous going forward and we lose a good goal from Richie Foran, but the pass from Dillon was cut out and we didn't get out of the bit from there.'' Attendance: 3,059 Inverness CT: Reguero, Raven, G Shinnie, Warren, Draper, Foran (Oswell 84), A. Shinnie (Pepper 80), Meekings, Doran, Morrison, Roberts (McKay 87). Subs not used: McKay, Polworth, Brislen-Hall, Cooper. Dundee United: Cierzniak, Dillon, McLean, Gunning, Flood, Russell, Rankin (Armstrong 45), Daly, Ryan (Millar 62), Watson, Gardyne (Dow 45). Subs not used: Vignal, Hilson, Gauld, Banks (GK). Referee: Stephen Finnie. That's the scenario Dundee United are faced with after Saturday's horror show up at Inverness, but defender Sean Dillon insists the Tangerines are ready to dig deep and show the resolve that is needed to get out of their slump. No-one would have foreseen the final scoreline after watching United dominate the opening half hour at the weekend but the record books will show that Inverness were well worth their 4-0 win in the end. ''It's a tough one to take for us, for myself, the manager, the staff, the fans that came up and the fans that didn't come up,'' Dillon said. ''We just need to get ourselves sorted and get out of this small rut and make sure that we minimise it as much as we can. ''I'd like to think it's a temporary blip because it's been a bad one. ''We've lost seven goals in two games and even before that, even though we kept a couple of clean sheets, we weren't getting the win. ''But we need to stay positive and get our heads around getting out of it as soon as possible.'' The home side suffered a blow before kick-off as keeper Ryan Esson injured his groin in the warm-up, with former Real Madrid youth Antonio Reguero having to debut between the sticks. United showed attacking intent within 22 seconds as Johnny Russell sent a curling shot just off target, before Jon Daly fired over from Russell's cut back four minutes later. After Caley's Gavin Morrison became the first player to be booked in nine minutes for a rash challenge on Willo Flood, Russell again posed a threat a minute later, seeing an initial shot blocked before rifling the rebound into the side netting. The hosts slowly began to get a foothold in the game though and had their first chance in 16 minutes when Andrew Shinnie was allowed to descend on the United defence and fire a low left-foot shot straight at Rado Cierzniak. Continued on next page...

Scottish Premiership

Draw against KF Shkendija is good enough for Aberdeen

July 10 2015

Aberdeen are through to the second qualifying round of the Europa League but only just, as they made hard work of seeing off the challenge of Macedonians KF Shkendija at Pittodrie. A ragged display from the Dons would have been punished by a better side, and boss Derek McInnes and his players were left grateful for their opponents’ lack of a finishing. It was far from pretty and, had the visitors made the most of their early chances, they would have headed for home celebrating their first victory in a European tie. But it is clear the Dons will have to play much better in Croatia against HNK Rijeka next week if they are to enjoy more than a lingering interest in the tournament. McInnes made one enforced change to the side which drew 1-1 in Skopje a week ago, with defender Mark Reynolds missing out due to his shoulder injury. Midfielder Kenny McLean returned in his absence, with Graeme Shinnie moving to left back and Andrew Considine into central defence alongside Ashton Taylor. The visitors had nothing to lose, and it showed as they went toe to toe with a Dons team who seemed tense and nervous despite having the advantage of an away goal. The midfield especially was a problem area for Aberdeen, with captain Ryan Jack and birthday boy Jonny Hayes wasteful with both their possession and passing against a team which appeared to be capable of punishing them at any moment. St Johnstone went out on away goals to Alashkert FC. Meanwhile, West Ham recovered from an early red card for Diafra Sakho to ease past FC Lusitans of Andorra and advance in to the second round of Europa League qualifiers. Elliot Lee’s first goal for the Hammers secured a 1-0 win, wrapping up a 4-0 aggregate success.


Arbroath 0 Inverness CT 2: Lichties unable to add another League Cup upset

August 30 2012

Second division leaders Arbroath failed to add to this week's list of Scottish Communities League Cup shocks as they went down to SPL side Inverness Caley Thistle. Prior to the tie, Lichties player/boss Paul Sheerin could have been forgiven for thinking his team could upset his former club given their good early-season form, but it was the Highlanders' class that shone through in the end at Gayfield. Arbroath started the game shooting towards the Pleasureland end and they won a free-kick in a dangerous area after just two minutes, although there was little pleasure from Darren Gribben's effort which was well off target. Two minutes later, Colin Hamilton completely missed his attempt at a clearance and Shane Sutherland almost capitalised, but his shot went narrowly over. The home side were undone in the seventh minute though as Thistle took advantage of a fast, free-flowing move. Sutherland's incisive run down the right got him into the danger area and his cut back was swept home by Andrew Shinnie. In 14 minutes, the visitors almost doubled the lead when Graeme Shinnie's corner was headed down by Gary Warren, but Paul Currie's positioning on the right-hand post was perfect to clear away the danger. With 20 minutes gone, Arbroath created a few decent openings, first from Mark Baxter's ball which caused a few worries in the visitors' box when it was fizzed over from the right, before Sheerin screwed a shot over from distance. On the half hour, Inverness found themselves with men over and veteran keeper Tony Bullock had to make a superb double save, doing well to keep out Sutherland's curler before Willie McKay tried to squeeze the rebound home in at the right-hand post. A minute later, the home side lost Derek Holmes through injury and he was replaced by Lee Sibanda, before Hamilton was booked for cynically halting Inverness' advance up the pitch. Continued... Arbroath created their best chance of the half in 36 minutes when a great switch from left to right released Steven Doris down the right, but Graeme Shinnie's sliding challenge blocked his shot at goal. Six minutes from the break, Mark Baxter was booked for a foul on Aaron Doran before Bullock was called into action to parry a shot from Doran, with Sutherland going on to hit the rebound off the outside of the post from a tight angle. Josh Meekings was then yellow carded for a foul on Hamilton as the half drew to a close, but not before Currie's dangerous-looking ball across the area found no takers and Andrew Shinnie saw another drive well saved by Bullock down to his right. Michael Travis' challenge on McKay earned him a yellow card five minutes into the second period, before Shinnie cut inside from the left and sent a cracking right-foot drive off the top of the crossbar shortly after. Doran then tried his luck from 25 yards in the 58th minute as Caley pressed for what would be a killer second but the ball whistled past Bullock's left-hand post. On the hour though, Arbroath squandered a great chance to equalise. Hamilton's long ball forward found Gribben in acres of space but the big striker could only blast his attempt over the bar after cutting inside brilliantly. At the other end, Hamilton was called upon to block a Doran drive as the game began to look a little stretched, with Arbroath's Paul Currie becoming the fifth player booked for bringing down Warren as play raged from end to end in 67 minutes. But with 20 minutes remaining, Caley sealed their passage into the next round. Sheerin was caught in possession in midfield and, after Sutherland sent Andrew Shinnie clear, the forward blasted the ball in off the underside of the bar to make it 2-0. The goal scorer went close again 10 minutes from time when he stung the palms of Bullock from the edge of the area, before Doris sent a 20 yard free-kick over the bar following Owain Jones' foul five minutes later as the Lichties strived to reduce the deficit. However, there were to be no more goals on what was a disappointing night for the home side.