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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


Hibs 2 Hearts 1: Craig’s late winner brings winter sunshine to Leith

January 3 2014

Hibs manager Terry Butcher referenced Andy Murray’s historic Wimbledon win last summer after Liam Craig’s dramatic late penalty gave his side a deserved 2-1 win over city rivals Hearts at Easter Road. In an enthralling Scottish Premiership encounter, Hibs striker James Collins put the home side ahead in the 59th minute when he lashed the ball high into the net from four yards after the Tynecastle men failed to deal with a Craig corner. Jambos substitute David Smith, on for Callum Tapping after the break, drew the visitors level in the 70th minute but with nine minutes remaining Hearts defender Jordan McGhee was adjudged by referee Bobby Madden to have fouled Lewis Stevenson in the box. Craig stepped up to score from the spot and give Butcher his first Edinburgh derby win since taking over as boss at the end of last year and, with that, the former Motherwell manager pointed to Hibs fan Murray’s exploits when he won the men’s singles title for the first time. “It feels terrific,” said the Englishman. “It is a lovely feeling because the club, the players and fans have suffered a lot this season from Hearts. “Tonight was all about winning the match. I said to the players before the game, it is very much like Andy Murray when he went out for the men’s singles final at Wimbledon with the whole nation on his shoulders. “He just thinks about it as a tennis match. All our players were thinking about today is that it was a football match and best get on with it. “You’ve seen that Andy collapsed at the end of it when he won it hit him then. “I said to the players that is what I wanted, them to have that impact of winning the match. “I was delighted with the reaction of the players when they did concede the goal. “In the past maybe Hearts would have got a point or won the game but we dominated again and I think we deserved to win the game.” Asked about the penalty, Butcher said: “I think it was the right decision. There was no need to make the challenge on Lewis he was wiped out. Anywhere else on the pitch it was a foul.” Hearts boss Gary Locke revealed that McGhee, a late replacement for Gorgie skipper Danny Wilson, who was ill, was “distraught” at conceding the penalty, a decision queried by the former Jambos skipper. Locke said:” Jordan feels he didn’t do anything wrong. I have seen it again and he goes across the lad but the ball is already out of the pitch. “You see that type of thing happening every week, there is never a foul given but he decided tonight to give a penalty. “It is a sore one. I don’t want an explanation from the referee. “Some of the decisions we have had against us have been incredible and I just hope our luck turns in 2014. “I thought we defended well and worked our socks off to get back into the game and a controversial decision cost us a point. “But I couldn’t be more proud of the players, they gave us everything again.”

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.

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

Other sports

Marin Cilic suspended after testing positive for nikethamide stimulant

September 17 2013

Marin Cilic has been suspended for nine months after testing positive for a banned stimulant, ruling him out until February 1, the International Tennis Federation has announced. The Croatian’s doping violation came when he tested positive for nikethamide a stimulant at the BMW Open in Munich in May. The 24-year-old’s ban was backdated to May 1, the date on which he provided the sample, to end at midnight on January 31. The sample was sent to a laboratory in Montreal for analysis, where it was found to contain nikethamide, a prohibited substance. Cilic was subsequently charged over the doping violation under Article 2.1 although he argued the banned substance was in his system after taking Coramine glucose tablets that had been purchased for him from a pharmacy. A statement from the ITF read: “The independent tribunal found that Mr Cilic ingested the nikethamide inadvertently as a result of taking the Coramine glucose tablets, and did not intend to enhance his performance in doing so, and that he, therefore, met the preconditions of article 10.4 of the programme, which entitles him to a reduction of the period of ineligibility for specified substance based on an assessment of his fault.” As well as the ban “it was also determined that Mr Cilic’s results at the 2013 BMW Open event should be disqualified, with resulting forfeiture of the ranking points and prize money that he won at those events. “Mr Cilic’s results subsequent to the BMW Open, up to the time that he accepted a voluntary provisional suspension, are also disqualified and the ranking points and prize money forfeited.” Following the BMW Open, Cilic was knocked out of the French Open in the third round by Viktor Troicki, who coincidentally was banned in July for 18 months for failing to provide a blood sample. He then reached the final at Queen’s where he lost to Andy Murray before withdrawing from Wimbledon, where he was seeded 10th, prior to his second-round match.

Scottish Championship

Raith Rovers ask SFA to investigate Rangers player’s recall

September 3 2015

Raith Rovers have requested that the SFA compliance officer Tony McGlennan investigates whether Rangers broke the governing body’s rules by bringing Ryan Hardie back early from Scotland Under-19 duty ahead of Saturday’s clash between the two Championship sides at Ibrox. The Kirkcaldy club say that Rangers assistant manager David Weir helped secure the player’s release before the Under-19s face Bulgaria tomorrow night. While Hardie will now be available to play at Ibrox, Raith will be without on-loan Dundee striker Craig Wighton who has remained with the squad. In a statement, the club said: “Ahead of Saturday’s Ladbrokes Championship match versus Rangers at Ibrox, Raith Rovers FC has today asked the Scottish FA’s Compliance Officer to consider whether he agrees that Rangers FC, through David Weir, have breached SFA Articles and Rules by requesting and securing the early release of its player Ryan Hardie from international duty with Scotland Under-19s in Bulgaria, for the sole reason that he is then available to play against Raith Rovers. “Raith Rovers FC also has an important player in the same Under-19 squad, 1st team regular Craig Wighton. Craig remains in Bulgaria and available for selection for Friday evening’s national representative match. “He will fly home with the rest of the squad on Saturday afternoon. We are delighted that Craig is receiving international recognition, and whilst we are without his services for the crucial match with Rangers, our loss is Scotland’s gain. “Naturally we are concerned that if there is any breach of Article 82.1 and Rules 56 & 57, this would in these circumstances result in an unfairness in terms of players available for selection for Saturday’s match, which is to our disadvantage.” Scottish FA Article 82.1 states: “If any player selected to attend any international or other match arranged by the Scottish FA refuses without good and sufficient cause to comply with the arrangements for playing in such match or fails to attend such match, the Judicial Panel may find him to have been in breach of this Article 82.1, and any club or official or Team Official or other member of Team Staff who may be found to have encouraged or instigated or caused such player so to refuse shall likewise be deemed to be in breach of this Article 82.1 and the provisions of Article 95 shall apply.”


Craig Whyte cleared of fraudulent Rangers takeover

June 6 2017

Former Rangers owner Craig Whyte has been cleared of a fraudulent takeover of the club. The jury returned a not guilty majority verdict after a six-week trial at the High Court in Glasgow. Whyte was accused of acquiring Rangers by fraud in May 2011. He denied the charge, and another under the Companies Act. The Crown alleged the 46-year-old pretended to then-owner Sir David Murray that funds were "immediately available" on an "unconditional basis" to make all required payments for a controlling and majority stake in the Glasgow club. https://twitter.com/ConnorGillies/status/872064367155662848 Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC told the court Whyte did not have authority over the funds used in the takeover and "induced" the Murray Group to sell, but defence QC Donald Findlay described the accused as "the fall guy" in the case. After two hours of deliberations, the jury found Whyte not guilty on both charges. Judge Lady Stacey told Whyte: "You have been acquitted and are free to leave the dock." He thanked the judge and jury before leaving the courtroom, where a small group of people were watching on from the public gallery. During the trial, the court was told the sale of Rangers was eventually made to Whyte for £1, but came with obligations to pay an £18 million bank debt, a £2.8 million "small tax case" bill, £1.7 million for stadium repairs, £5 million for players and £5 million in working capital. The trial heard that Whyte arranged a £24 million loan from financial firm Ticketus against three years of future season ticket sales before he took control of Rangers. Mr Findlay said his client had met the conditions of the sale by paying the debt and investing in the club. He blamed Sir David's advisers, saying they "let him down very badly" in the deal and did not ask where the takeover money was coming from. Summing up the defence case, Mr Findlay said: "They were not interested in where the money came from and we know this absolutely categorically."

Angus & The Mearns

Tayberry chef Adam Newth to triple staff with new St Andrews and Kinnettles ventures

January 17 2017

One of Scotland’s top young chefs will bring his signature style to two new ventures in Angus and Fife this year. Adam Newth, chef proprietor of the Tayberry restaurant in Broughty Ferry, is to launch a second restaurant in St Andrews in the spring and has taken on the catering at the relaunched Kinnettles Castle near Forfar. The 26-year-old said the move will triple his dozen staff. Kinettles Castle has been relaunched as an exclusive use wedding and private events venue, and the forthcoming Kinettles Hotel is due to open its doors in April. “I’m excited about the new openings,” he said. “They’re different in scope but both will reflect our classic and modern techniques and passion for using the best and freshest ingredients we can get hold of.” Mr Newth won the first young chef of the year title in the 2016 Catering Scotland (CIS) Awards, and spoke proudly of what competitions have done for his career to date. “Winning a competition gives your business a buzz,” he said. “It gives you the reassurance you’re doing a lot of things right and indicates to the outside world you’re a trusted brand. “You get the wind behind you and it boosts your profile. “Articles go in the press and social media, and readers say ‘I must try that place'. “Winning awards has a positive impact on staff too. “Even if the award is given to me, they know they’ve played their parts.” Mr Newth first worked at a cafe in his home town of Arbroath aged 14, studied cooking at nearby Angus College and left home at 16 to work at former Rangers FC chairman David Murray’s Circus restaurant in Edinburgh. He honed his skills at establishments including The Seafood Restaurant in St Andrews under Craig Millar, Angels with Bagpipes in Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, The Kitchen and No. 1 @ The Balmoral in Edinburgh, and Martin Wishart’s at Cameron House on Loch Lomond. His other awards have included young Scottish chef and young Scottish seafood chef of the year at ScotHot in 2013, and sustainable trout chef of the year in 2015. When he opened Castlehill, the city’s first two AA Rosette restaurant, one restaurant critic wrote: “Adam Newth may be the best thing to hit Dundee since Desperate Dan.”

Angus & The Mearns

Busy New York programme for piper-to-the-stars Craig Weir

April 3 2015

An Angus piper who played for rock legends Queen and the Dalai Lama will be a guest of honour at New York’s Tartan Week celebrations. Craig Weir from Carnoustie will make a big din for the Big Yin at a dinner held for comedian Billy Connolly, among a host of events next week. He will also play a tribute to one of his piping heroes at the 9/11 Memorial and, for the first time, pipe a commissioned piece in memory of Scots immigrants at Ellis Island. The 21-year-old is flying over on Tuesday as an ambassador for World Peace Tartan. After talking to Bronx and Manhattan schools about the instrument, Mr Weir will play as a guest with former Simple Minds drummer Mike Ogletree as part of a Glasgow Caledonian University event. And after a lunchtime recital for the American Scottish Foundation at Bryant Park, he will play at the National Trust for Scotland USA gala dinner in honour of Scots comic Connolly. On Friday he will play a selection at the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center. “I plan to play pieces including The Sleeping Tune by Gordon Duncan,” he said. “He was a legendary piper one of my idols who died in 2005. “This is a lament he wrote, which is beautiful and I believe it will reflect the mood of the day. I expect that will send a real shiver up my spine and I already have a lump in my throat when I think about it.” On April 12, Craig’s visit will conclude with the world premiere of his composition for the event, The Immigrant’s Lament, as the centrepiece of Tartan Day on Ellis Island the largest celebration of its kind in the world. “It seems an appropriate piece to play at the spot where so many Scots landed on their arrival in the USA,” he said. Craig played for the Dalai Lama when he visited Dundee in 2012, piped Happy Birthday for Mohandas Gandhi’s grandson, Arun, over Skype last year, and has played for the Queen, TV personality Lorraine Kelly, and tennis star Andy Murray at his graduation. Last year he was asked to play the pipes at Queen’s world tour gig at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow. Craig is Pipe Sergeant of the Arbroath Royal British Legion Pipe Band and fronts four-piece Celtic rock band Gleadhraich, whose latest EP, Where We’re From, is available on iTunes.