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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...

Scottish Championship

Raith’s Ross Callachan unlikely to win approval for his music choice

August 8 2015

The Raith Rovers players could be running out against Livingston today with the music of the late, great Frank Sinatra ringing in their ears if Ross Callachan has anything to do with it. The 21-year-old midfielder is a firm fan of “Ol’ Blue Eyes” and has the tattoo to prove it. As this season’s dressing-room DJ, he is in charge of choosing the tunes although while he would like to “do it my way”, he is fairly sure his choice of music would not be met with universal approval. Callachan said: “I have my kid, my brother and sister as well as my mum and Frank Sinatra tattooed on my arm. “I am a big fan of Sinatra and his music. “My mum and dad like him so I grew up listening to his music as a kid. “I am the dressing-room DJ this year and I am always on my phone trying to get new songs. “But I don’t think the boys would like any Sinatra before a game!” While he may struggle to win acceptance for his preferred performer choice off the park, Callachan is looking to make sweet music on the pitch. When asked if he felt this was a big season for him, he said: “I do. Once I got in the team last year, I felt I did quite well. “So I am looking to kick on this year and add goals to my game. “I want to keep being positive and drive forward. That’s what my game is all about. “But adding goals is the main thing.” Callachan’s boss is, of course, former Dundee United, Nottingham Forest and Aberdeen midfielder Ray McKinnon. The manager was in his playing pomp around the time Callachan was born so he obviously never saw him in action. However, McKinnon has been urging him to watch clips of him on the internet including one memorable hat-trick against Kilmarnock. Callachan said: “The gaffer’s been telling us to watch videos of him on YouTube. “He has mentioned his hat-trick of free-kicks just a few times! “Seriously though, the gaffer and Grant (coach Johnson) are always giving me wee tips on the training field. “Stuff like on the half turn being able to open the game up in the middle of the park.” Raith will be without the injured Craig Barr and Lewis Vaughan while Lewis Toshney is rated doubtful and his fellow centre-half Kyle Benedictus is suspended.

Scottish Championship

Raith Rovers 1 Cowdenbeath 3: Blue Brazil’s Nish sinks Rovers

April 9 2015

Former Raith boss Jimmy Nicholl used his knowledge of the opposition to inspire Cowdenbeath to a local derby victory at Stark’s Park. A hat-trick from Colin Nish gave the Blue Brazil their second win in four days and sent them five points clear of relegation rivals Alloa, who lost last night at Tynecastle. Cowdenbeath know how that feels after conceding 10 there themselves, so they deserve credit for the way they have responded to that defeat. “It was a really difficult March, but we kept some belief,” said Nicholl. “We’re coming good at the right time, but all I’m thinking about now is Livingston on Saturday. “I was thrilled to bits for big Nishy. I’ve always liked him even though he’s scored enough against us in the past.” Nish added modestly: “I was just there in the right place at the right time.” The Raith board and fans paid an emotional pre-match tribute to former chairman Turnbull Hutton, who died on Sunday, and the home team seemed to have difficulty getting up to speed once the game kicked-off. The realisation they were out of the promotion race also left them looking flat. Nish failed to capitalise on an early half-chance and then fired wide from a tricky angle when Sean Higgins appeared better-placed. Moments later, Higgins stretched the Rovers defence, but his left-foot finish was blocked on the edge of the penalty area. The Kirkcaldy club finally began to enjoy some possession, although Cowden comfortably dealt with a series of high balls slung into the box. A 28th-minute corner offered Ross Callachan two shots at the Blue Brazil’s goal but both were off-target. The pressure was building, but Raith were vulnerable to a counter-attack, and Nish made them suffer in the 33rd minute with a cute dinked finish over goalkeeper Kevin Cuthbert. Rovers were rattled and fortunate not to be penalised shortly after half time when Nish collapsed like a giraffe. Urgent action was required from the home team, and Rory McKeown provided it with a long-range drive that keeper Robbie Thomson palmed over the bar. On the hour mark, ex-Cowden defender Dougie Hill nearly scored, but his left-foot effort was headed off the line by skipper Colin Marshall. The reprieved visitors promptly doubled their advantage, Nish rounding off a fine four-man move with a simple tap-in from six yards. He completed his hat-trick 11 minutes from time before Mark Stewart pulled one back near the end.

Scottish Championship

Raith Rovers 0 Alloa Athletic 1: ‘Frustrating night’ for McKinnon’s men

January 13 2016

Raith Rovers endured 90 minutes of frustration as they passed up the opportunity to cement their place in fourth spot in the table. The Stark’s Park pitch, deemed unplayable when this match was due to be played on Boxing Day, passed an afternoon inspection but the home players failed their examination on a night when they should have eased five points clear of Queen of the South in fifth. An 85th-minute penalty from Iain Flannigan sealed a first victory of the reign of new Alloa manager Jack Ross, and just a second win since September for the Championship’s bottom side, and Rovers will have been left wondering how they failed to at least see out a draw. Had it not been for wastefulness in front of goal, they would have recovered from Saturday’s Scottish Cup defeat to Hibernian and given their promotion play-off aspirations a shot in the arm. However, following the departure of Jon Daly and Craig Wighton in recent days, they were left to rue a profligacy that ultimately cost them a morale- boosting victory. Manager Ray McKinnon said: “It was a frustrating night. It’s obviously clear we need a goalscorer anybody in the stadium could see that. We need someone who’s really natural. “We had chances and we should probably have had the game won and we left ourselves open to the sucker-punch, which happened tonight. “We know what we’re needing and we’re looking hard for it, but it’s very difficult to find it. It’s not easy to get a striker that’s going to score a barrowload of goals for you. For whatever reason we’re not sticking it in the net and we’ve paid the price tonight.” Mitch Megginson should have earned Rovers the breakthrough after just 12 minutes but screwed his four-yard header wide from Ross Callachan’s cross and thereafter it was a tale of woe in front of goal. James Craigen had a shot deflected wide and Megginson drove past after the break before Louis Longridge, making his debut after signing on loan from Hamilton Accies, refused the chance to shoot early and saw Callachan’s effort from his deflected drive blocked on the line. With five minutes remaining, Alloa broke at speed and Iain Davidson’s lunge inside the box was adjudged to have brought down Iain Flannigan, who picked himself up to score from the spot. Alloa boss Jack Ross said: “I’m just delighted the players have got their rewards. They’ve had an awful lot of knocks this season and it’s human nature that you lose confidence and you lose a little bit of belief, so I’m delighted for them.” Attendance: 1,064. Raith: Cuthbert; Bates, Davidson, Benedictus, McKeown; Callachan, Matthews, Robertson (Court 86); Craigen, Longridge, Megginson (Stewart 66). Subs not used: Law, Petrie, McCord, Ellis, Ford. Alloa: McNeil; Doyle, Hill (Williams 62), McKenna, Hamilton; Crawford, McAusland (McManus 58), O’Brien, Flannigan; Layne (Ferns 74), Duffy. Subs not used: Crawford, Reintam, McManus, Hetherington, Hardie. Referee: G Aitken.

Scottish Championship

Dumbarton 3 Raith Rovers 3: Gordon Smith keen to nail down place

February 24 2014

Gordon Smith is hoping his double at Dumbarton on Saturday can help him keep his place in Raith Rovers side. Smith made it six goals for the season as the Kirkcaldy men claimed a 3-3 draw at the home of the form team in the Championship. It was only the second point Rovers have collected in the past seven league games and Smith’s first start since the New Year defeat to Dundee. “It was good to score two after being out of the team for a while,” he said. “I’ve not had a proper run in the team the most I’ve played in a row is three games which is quite frustrating when you’re trying to get a bit of form. This will do me no harm.” Smith was paired up front with recent signing John Baird, who also netted, and they proved to be an effective partnership. “We’ve been on the same team in training a few times and it’s been good linking up with him,” Smith said. “He knows the game well, and he’s done well at this club before, and at other clubs. I thought we did a good job.” Smith was also happy with the result, which was a considerable improvement on last week’s horror show at home to Hamilton. “The first half last week was a disaster for us but it shows that we’ve got character to come here and get a draw against a team doing really well at the moment.” Smith’s afternoon got off to a nightmare start when he passed up a golden opportunity to give Rovers an early lead, missing the ball completely just two yards out after Ross Callachan’s cut-back left him with a simple tap-in. To make matters worse, Dumbarton took the lead in the 24th minute as a long throw into the box caused confusion in the Raith defence, and after Scott Robinson initially saved from Chris Kane, the rebound was lashed into the net by Colin Nish. Smith put his sitter behind him to draw Rovers level on the half hour, showing composure to side-foot Baird’s perfect lay-off past Stephen Grindlay. The strong wind was making conditions difficult for both defences and it caught out Reece Donaldson as the Sons re-took the lead on 37 minutes. The Raith centre-half appeared to misjudge the flight of a ball over the top, allowing Kane to latch on and drill a low finish past Robinson. Rovers came out fired up for the second half and turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead with two goals in the space of four minutes. The equaliser came in the 57th minute as Smith burst through the Sons’ defence to hit a shot off the post and Baird was on hand to knock home the rebound from six yards. Rovers took the lead for the first time as Smith peeled off his marker to head Grant Anderson’s cross beyond Grindlay’s reach. The visitors’ lead lasted just three minutes, however, as Scott Agnew’s stunning 20 yard volley brought the home side level at 3-3. Frustrated Raith boss Grant Murray said: “It’s great to come here and score three goals, but I’m disappointed with the way we lost the goal. “On the other hand, a point away from home against the in-form team isn’t toobad.”

Scottish League 1

Raith Rovers skipper Ross Callachan joins Hearts for undisclosed fee

August 31 2017

Raith Rovers captain Ross Callachan has been snapped up by Hearts on a two-year deal for an undisclosed fee. The Edinburgh side had made an initial offer of cash plus a player but that was rejected by the Kirkcaldy side’s board. https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/sport/football/501033/transfer-deadline-day-far-oxlade-chamberlain-costa-sanchez-dembele-articleisfree/ Now, though, the Jambos have made an improved bid which has been accepted and the 23-year-old midfielder has become new Tynecastle boss Craig Levein’s first signing. Callachan’s departure will no doubt be a bitter blow for Rovers manager Barry Smith who could now sign former Celtic, Blackpool and Dunfermline midfielder John Herron who has been training with the Kirkcaldy side in recent weeks. What is certain is that Raith chairman Alan Young insists the club could not stand in the way of lifelong Hearts fan Callachan leaving Stark’s Park. Young said: “I am extremely disappointed to see Ross Callachan leave Raith Rovers. He is a hard-working professional with considerable talent. “Over the last few months there has been interest from a few clubs in our captain. “To date we have been able to reject these offers as the club and Ross himself agreed that our principal priority was getting back into the Championship in one year. “Ross Callachan was considered by the manager and the board as being an important player in achieving that objective.” Young added: “Ross has however now been presented with the opportunity of playing in the Scottish Premiership for the club he has supported since childhood and Raith Rovers are not really in the position of preventing him from realising his dream. “We wish him all the best for the future and thank him for all his efforts for the Rovers over the last 10 years. “Let our young players look to Ross Callachan as an example of how to develop and expand your talents. “Of course a transfer of this nature can only take place if the manager is confident that he has sufficient replacement to cover the loss of such an important player. That cover is in place.”

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

Scottish Championship

Dumbarton 2 Raith Rovers 1: Striker ‘devastated’ after third loss

December 15 2014

Raith Rovers striker Mark Stewart has called on the team to stick together after a third straight league defeat saw the Kirkcaldy side drop to seventh in the Championship table. Stewart looked to have earned Rovers a point after his 60th minute equaliser cancelled out Scott Agnew’s first half wonder strike for Dumbarton, but a debatable late penalty award by referee Bobby Madden saw the hosts steal the points. Raith’s performance was an improvement on recent showings and Stewart felt the away side deserved to take something from the game. “We’re devastated because that was one of our best performances of the season,” he said. “The boys are absolutely gutted and can’t believe we haven’t taken at least a point from the game but it should have been three. “We’ve not taken our chances and the penalty at the end has killed us. We know we’re capable of being so much higher up the league.” Raith had the lion’s share of possession and chances in the first half but it was the Sons who took a one-goal lead into the interval thanks to a contender for goal of the season in the 20th minute. There appeared little danger when Agnew collected the ball in space 35 yards from goal but he unleashed a powerful swerving shot that left David McGurn motionless as it flew into the top corner. Ross Callachan had gone closest to giving Raith the lead in the 11th minute with a first-time snapshot from 18 yards that flew just wide. Raith also had several chances to equalise before half-time with Christian Nade heading wide from six yards, and Stewart firing straight at the goalkeeper when well placed in the box. Dumbarton were pinned back and restricted to hitting the visitors on the break, with Chris Kane heading inches wide in a 33rd minute counter-attack. Raith continued to press after the break and Ryan Conroy had a great chance to restore parity in the 60th minute as Dougie Hill’s cross deflected into his path, but Danny Rogers saved with his legs from close range. Two minutes later, McGurn kept Raith in the game with a fantastic save to deny Kane in a one-on-one after the striker raced clear from the halfway line with Raith caught again on the counter-attack. That save proved crucial as just 60 seconds later Conroy fed the ball to Stewart, who squeezed between two defenders to clip the ball beyond the advancing Rogers for a deserved Rovers equaliser. Both sides pushed for a winner with McGurn making a stunning one-handed save to keep out Gary Fleming’s 20-yard strike, while Rogers was at full stretch to parry Callachan’s long-range drive. The game’s pivotal moment arrived in the 88th minute as Dumbarton sub Archie Campbell hit the deck near the edge of the box despite minimal contact from Callachan and referee Madden pointed to the spot. Agnew sent McGurn the wrong way from the resultant penalty to grab his second and seal the points for the hosts but Raith boss Grant Murray was fuming with the penalty decision. “I don’t know where it came from,” he said. “It’s not just us I think they were stunned when it was given but they’re not going to stand up and say they don’t want a penalty.”

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 Championship

Raith Rovers boss Ray McKinnon hails players’ hard work

October 6 2015

Raith Rovers boss Ray McKinnon has praised his players’ work ethic for helping the club hit the heady heights of second place in the Championship table. The Kirkcaldy side’s latest win at home to Morton on Saturday saw them leapfrog Falkirk to sit behind runaway league leaders Rangers. Considering the respective budgets of other sides such as the Bairns, Hibs, St Mirren and Queen of the South, it could be argued that Rovers are punching well above their weight. However, McKinnon who received another boost on Saturday with the addition of former Scotland international Scott Robertson to his squad thanks to care home owners Colin and Margaret Smart agreeing to pay the player’s wages insists they are there on merit. The manager said: “I am absolutely delighted to get Scott in and I must thank Colin and Margaret for helping make it happen. “I met Colin and he asked if there was anything he could do to help me bring in players. “He was more than happy to help out and it was an unbelievable gesture. “Scott has been brilliant in training and has a fantastic attitude, “He has bags of experience and is a great addition to the squad. “We should also have Ross Callachan back from injury after the international break which means we will have a lot of competition for places in midfield which is really pleasing. “The break will also gives others a chance to recover from little knocks and niggles. “Lewis Toshney, for instance, could barely walk on Friday before the Morton game while Kyle Benedictus was struggling with a sore neck. “All the lads deserve a wee break to recharge the batteries as they have worked incredibly hard to get us into the position we are in. “They are a really good bunch and are there on merit.”