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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


Dundee 1 Ross County 1: Dark Blues refusing to give up despite more dropped points

February 27 2012

Dundee's Steven Milne insists no-one in at the club is ready to run up the white flag of surrender on their title aspirations just yet. However, after drawing against league leaders Ross County on Saturday at Dens, he did concede that the Staggies can now only throw away the championship. Last week was a pivotal one for the Dark Blues and their hopes of finally making it back into the SPL. And after only drawing against second-placed Falkirk on Tuesday night, they simply had to secure three points against Derek Adams' side. Instead, they could only achieve parity in a game which was a grim war of attrition for the 5,003 fans watching on. Dundee, with former Hibs and Falkirk midfielder Kevin McBride starting as a surprise trialist, looked nervy from the start against a County side playing a high-tempo pressing game. It was no surprise when the Staggies took an early lead in the 11th minute after Scott Morrison directed a cross to Richard Brittain in the Dundee box and the County captain played the ball back into the path of Stuart Kettlewell looking suspiciously offside for a simple tap-in. Barry Smith's side struggled to recover from that hammer blow. However, they were handed a controversial lifeline when Carl Finnigan jinked his way into the County penalty area and was brought down by Kettlewell. Referee Mike Tumilty, who infuriated both sets of players and fans with a catalogue of baffling decisions all day, initially ruled out Dundee claims for a penalty. However, his assistant Derek Rose seemed to sway him into awarding a spot kick. Ryan Conroy stepped up to calmly drill the ball past Michael Fraser in the Staggies' goal. The second half saw County content to sit in with Dundee struggling to break down their well-organised defence. Indeed, it was the visitors who came closest to taking the lead again when former Dundee player Colin McMenamin saw a header deflected on to Rab Douglas' crossbar. Finnigan could have won another penalty late on when he appeared to be wrestled to the ground by Grant Munro but Tumilty was not impressed. Then, in the dying seconds, Finnigan was inches away from tapping in a Graham Bayne cross. However, the chance slipped away and with it possibly the Dark Blues' hopes of resurrecting their title challenge. Milne said: ''We are in the same sort of position now only having played one less game. Obviously, the result was disappointing as we wanted to win the game. We gave it our best shot but once again we have given a team a goal of a start which gave them something to defend and they did that. ''We then managed to get the penalty. The ref didn't look like he was going to give it but I think the linesman probably had a better view looking across the pitch and the guy definitely stuck a leg out. ''We had another shout for a penalty in the second half when Carl Finnigan was wrestled to the ground but you often find that when a ref has given one in a game, it has to be a stonewaller for him to award another." Milne admitted Dundee simply cannot afford any more slip-ups if they hope to capitalise on a County collapse. He said: ''There are still 11 games to go and if we can put a string of wins together, then we are confident we can still do it. But we simply have to start winning games. I think that's five games we've drawn in a row and it isn't really good enough." He added: "I think if you want to win leagues you have to be able to dig out a result when you don't play well. I think we could be better at doing that.'' Frustrated Dundee boss Smith said: ''They will be happier with the point than us for varying reasons. I said it last week that we couldn't continue conceding early goals and giving ourselves an uphill struggle. ''That's the problem we have been experiencing over the last four games. We have had to chase to get back into things. We will just focus on winning games from now on.''

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.

UK & World

Call for public inquiry into clerical sex abuse

March 1 2018

Amnesty International has called for a public inquiry into clerical sex abuse in Northern Ireland.It follows revelations of abuse by Fr Malachy Finnegan, former president of St Colman’s College in Newry.Fr Finnegan, who died in 2002, was accused of sex abuse by 12 people.Amnesty’s Northern Ireland director Patrick Corrigan said: “To date, clerical abuse victims here have been let down, not just by the church, but also by the authorities.”Victims claim that police in Newry were alerted to the Finnegan allegations in 1996 but failed to interview the priest.The police have said a formal complaint was never made, but they did receive a report of historical abuse, according to Amnesty.Mr Corrigan added: “The Fr Finnegan abuse scandal is horrifying but is not an isolated case.“Rather, it is yet another example of how paedophile priests appear to have been facilitated by the church authorities in continuing their vile abuse.“It is just the latest example of how the church authorities prioritised the protection of reputation over the protection of children.“The police and state authorities also have serious questions to answer, in this and in other cases, with regards to their apparent failure to adequately investigate very serious allegations and intervene to bring the alleged abuse to an end.”Solicitor Claire McKeegan, of KRW Law, who represents a number of Fr Finnegan’s alleged victims, said she had received calls from numerous further witnesses since a settlement by one of her clients was made public recently.She added: “The message is clear: victims demand a public inquiry into clerical abuse in Northern Ireland without any further delay.“The victims and survivors deserve to speak about the horrific abuse that took place and be heard in a public forum tasked with sufficient powers to get to the truth.“This case has brought to the surface yet another paedophile priest who was never investigated or exposed by the church or the police.”

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.


Award-winning Tayside song writer Eddie Cairney immortalises Queensferry Crossing in tune

October 25 2017

An award-winning Tayside song writer who immortalised the 50th anniversary of the Tay Road Bridge in music last year has released an EP which pays tribute to the newly opened Queensferry Crossing over the Forth. Perth-born Eddie Cairney, 65, who now lives in Arbroath, has released an album called ‘Sketches o' the QC’ which includes songs dedicated to the “isolated” workers who were employed during construction and contrasts the old Forth Road Bridge to the new crossing with its wind shields designed to keep traffic flowing during storms. Eddie, who delayed the release of the album due to family illness and bereavement, said: “It's just another quirky album like I did for the Tay Road Bridge. https://youtu.be/Z6BblA_Zev4 “As you can probably imagine, how do you write six songs about a bridge? “I usually end up using a process of creative journalism. I get a few facts or even just a single fact and then I let my imagination take over. “With each album early on in the writing process I draw a blank and think there's nothing here I can write about but there's always something to write about. “You just have to hang around long enough and it comes eventually. https://youtu.be/a9NyQAFjDsY “I just took threads from here and there. I was going to call the album The Queensferry Crossing but thought that was a bit boring so I went for Sketches o' the Q.C. “It introduces a bit of ambiguity. If you Google the name you get lots of drawings of court scenes!” Eddie was inspired to write Columba Cannon after reading an article about the general foreman for the foundations and towers. https://youtu.be/y_y1y8oV7vo Eddie said: “It was the name that got me and that gave me the first line of the song "He is a bridge builder wi a missionary zeal" Has to be with a name like Columba!” Fishnet bridge was set in a meditative light, describing the bridge as a “thing of beauty that looks like a big fish net glistening high above the Forth but it is a symbolic fishnet with the song taking the form of an imaginary conversation with the bridge.” https://youtu.be/dJgsl2WQ5G0   “Midday starvation came from an article which highlighted the isolation of the workers working high up on the bridge,” he added. https://youtu.be/Dme-bfCXHRI “If you forget your piece you've had it and you starve for there's no nipping round to the corner shop for a pie. The article also said that a local pizza delivery firm regularly delivered a pallet load of warm pizzas to the bridge so that was "midday salvation"! Meanwhile, The boys frae the cheese is a play on words. https://youtu.be/phtQ2-Xx1I0 He added: “I read an article that said The Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA) could have acted sooner and avoided the costly closure of the bridge at the end of 2015.” Eddie is no stranger to music and song influenced by Dundee and wider Scottish history. In 2015 he featured in The Courier for his efforts to put the complete works of Robert Burns to music. With a piano style influenced by Albert Ammons, Champion Jack Dupree and Memphis Slim, and a song-writing style influenced by Matt McGinn, Michael Marra and Randy Newman, the former Perth High School pupil, who wrote the 1984 New Zealand Olympic anthem, has organised a number of projects over the years including the McGonagall Centenary Festival  for Dundee City Council in 2002. Last year’s Tay Road Bridge album included a tribute to 19th century poet William Topas McGonagall and also honoured Hugh Pincott – the first member of the public to cross the Tay Road Bridge in 1966. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y51tixl9GEs Thanks to The Courier, he also became one of the first to cross the Queensferry Crossing  when it opened to the public in the early hours of August 30.

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


‘It hasn’t really sunk in yet’ injured St Johnstone striker Carl Finnigan devastated that injury has ended his season

April 5 2012

St Johnstone's Carl Finnigan has revealed he is struggling to come to terms with the fact that his season has been ended by injury. The striker tore his cartilage while on loan at Dundee and was operated on last Friday. Finnigan had scored three goals in five games for the Dark Blues and said he is desperately disappointed to be denied the opportunity to add more to his tally for Barry Smith's side. He said: "This injury has to be one of the most frustrating things I've ever had to deal with. "I'd waited all season to get a regular run of games and to have been given that chance was brilliant." He added: "I came to Dundee and was really enjoying training and playing, and the fact I scored a some goals and got a few assists certainly helped. "So for something like this to happen especially from something as innocuous as an awkward landing is hard to get your head around." Finnigan said: "It hasn't really sunk in yet that my season's over, to be honest. "But my op went well and it's just a case of an eight to 10 week recovery now."


Facebook feud ends in brutal bottle attack

October 29 2013

A man who launched a bottle attack after a Facebook feud boiled over has been remanded in custody. Daniel Finnigan was told by a sheriff that he “could end up dead” as he blasted a culture of violence among young men in Dundee. The sheriff court heard that Finnigan had clashed with Kevin McHugh in a pub in Menzhieshill last year. That escalated into Facebook challenges being issued by Mr McHugh. Finnigan initially ignored them but he lost his cool when he spotted Mr McHugh walking across the playing fields of Menzieshill High on November 12 last year. He ran at Mr McHugh, hitting him over the head with a bottle, before he and a gang of others launched a savage beating, repeatedly kicking their victim on the head. A boy who witnessed the attack described seeing Mr McHugh “screaming in pain” as he was carried from the scene. Depute fiscal Trina Sinclair told the court: “After the assault Mr McHugh couldn’t stand unaided and his friend carried him home. “He couldn’t get up the stairs, so was propped up in the close until the ambulance arrived. He was taken to Ninewells Hospital and was examined. He had facial injuries and a broken leg. He had to undergo surgery on his leg the next day.” Finnigan, 20, of Fyffe Street, was initially charged with attempted murder but he pled guilty on indictment to a charge of assault to severe injury and permanent disfigurement. Solicitor Anika Jethwa said: “Mr Finnigan had initially ignored the Facebook challenges posted by Mr McHugh but his temper got the better of him when they had this chance meeting.” Sheriff George Way deferred sentence until November 20 for background reports and remanded Finnigan in custody “for the protection of the public”. He said: “Kicking someone on the head is a lottery it can result in death. The court can’t tolerate this suggestion that vigilante, macho self-help like this can be allowed in a civilised society. “Violence tends to escalate and will get out of hand. These young men are prepared to use violence in this way and that will end up with someone being killed and Mr Finnigan, you could be the next victim.”