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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

Brechin City boss hopes strike partnership will flourish

January 13 2018

Darren Dods is hoping that Brechin City will start to flourish with their new strike partnership. For the first time since August the Glebe Park boss was able to start Andy Jackson and Connor McLennan together against Morton last weekend. And Dods has been encouraged by what he saw. “Obviously, Jacko has taken his time to get back from injury and we used him off the bench for a few games,” he said. “Saturday was his first start and his link-up play was excellent. He got 70 minutes and will feel the benefit of that. “We’re hoping that Connor’s loan deal from Aberdeen will be extended because he’s scored a couple for us recently and has played well. “I think the only reason Derek (McInnes) would want him back would be if he was going to be involved with the first team. With the greatest respect to Connor, they’ve got a lot of options in that area. “We’d hoped this would be a good partnership for us at the start of the season and now we’re hoping the same again.” Today’s clash with Livingston will be Brechin’s last home game for a while. “It’s an opportunity for us,” said Dods. “We did well against Morton last weekend. Jacko was important for us and so was Callum Tapping. “It’s Celtic in the Scottish Cup next weekend and there’s no doubt about it – players do want to make sure they are in the starting line-up for that one.” It looks like Ryan McGeever may need an operation on his ankle. If that is confirmed it would probably rule him out for the season. Dods has a couple of January deals lined up but expects to have to wait until late in the window before they fall into 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

Angus & The Mearns

Author’s surprise gift for Angus schoolboy who lost treasured books in house blaze

May 31 2014

A schoolboy whose family home was gutted by fire received a special surprise. Half of Connor McAuley’s house was destroyed last month after a blaze on the outskirts of Kirriemuir. The loss included his prized book collection, a treasured part of which he had only just acquired. Three Gorgeous George books, signed by Falkirk children’s author Stuart Reid, were lost in the fire with the rest of Connor’s library. But Mr Reid arrived in Angus with an aid package of bookish goodies, which brought a smile to the Northmuir PS pupil’s face. Mr Reid said he had enjoyed a visit to “a beautiful part of the country” in February while on a promotional tour, and was dismayed to hear of Connor’s situation. He added: “I came back from my holidays last week and had an email from Anne, the clerical officer at Northmuir. “She said this little lad was devastated to have lost everything. But the most upsetting thing was that he had lost the books I signed for him which I was blown away by.” Crews were called to the detached house at Chapelton Farm, about four miles outside of town, at 6pm on April 30. The McAuleys had gone for a walk and returned to find their home in flames. Four fire engines two from Kirriemuir and two from Forfar rushed to the scene, and a support pump from Dundee was also used. In total, 30 firefighters tackled the blaze for more than an hour and half, as well as making sure no one was in the building. Inspections found that half the cottage had been destroyed. Determined to help the family during a difficult time, Mr Reid brought Connor a personalised illustration from Calvin Innes, who inks the Gorgeous George series, T-shirts and a whole series of titles, including signed replacements for the ones lost. The 47-year-old, who described his anarchic books as “all bums and bogies”, is doing a show at the Edinburgh Festival entitled Reading Rocks. He hopes the healing power of reading will help Connor like other fans. “I once had a cracking letter from a soldier’s wife who said he had post-traumatic stress disorder,” he added. “He was really down and depressed, and he found the illustrations in my books really cheered him up.” Mr Reid, from Shieldhill, left Scotland to manage the Premier Inn in Dubai in 2007, but returned as visitor numbers declined. He also worked on radio as an unofficial Scottish football pundit for ex-pats before he moved his family back in 2009.

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.


Harris Academy FPs pulling together for opponent paralysed in rugby tackle

November 5 2014

A Dundee rugby club is asking fans to dig deep after a teenager was left paralysed from a tackle. Harris Academy FP was playing Stirling University in Dundee earlier this season when one of the away team’s players, Connor Hughes, went down to the ground and was unable to get up. The 19-year-old was attended to on the pitch before being rushed to Ninewells Hospital. Connor sustained an injury to two vertebrae which damaged his spinal cord, leaving him quadriplegic, with no sensation from his shoulders down. David Stibbles, secretary of the Harris Academy FP Rugby Club, said they were doing all they could to support Connor and his family in his rehabilitation. He said: “We had a committee meeting last Thursday and we are trying to organise a wine-tasting night. “We have also asked the family for a number of wristbands that they’ve been selling and we will do so too.” David said the incident had shocked everyone in the league. He said: “I wasn’t actually there at the time but I believe it was an innocuous challenge that caused the problem. “It shocked us all. We didn’t realise at the time the nature of the injury.” After the initial treatment on the field, Connor was taken to Ninewells before being transferred by a police-escorted ambulance to the Queen Elizabeth National Spinal Unit at the Southern General Hospital, Glasgow. He underwent intensive reconstructive surgery on his cervical vertebrae before starting the long rehabilitation process. Now Connor’s family have set up a Connor’s Journey website where anyone can donate to help with his rehabilitation, fitness equipment and also to raise money for research into spinal injuries. The target is £25,000 and anyone wishing to donate can do so at www.connorsjourney.com/donate/donate-to-connors-journey.

Scottish League 2

Montrose 1 Stirling Albion 3: Angus men on the slide after defensive lapses

March 13 2017

Montrose slipped to a second successive home defeat, this time at the hands of Stirling Albion, who go above the Links Park side and into fifth spot in League Two. Manager Stewart Petrie said: “That is six goals we have lost in two home games which is not good enough and will need to be addressed. “We huffed and puffed but there was no real quality there and it was as poor at home as we have been since I came to the club.” The two home defeats have put the top four beyond Montrose, but the manager insisted a promotion play-off was never spoken about. “We are just trying to make ourselves safe from the relegation play-off." Stirling took the lead on five minutes. A ball from Conor Quigley split the home defence and Darren Smith rounded Allan Fleming to score. Montrose hit back and on 10 minutes Paul Watson headed wide from a corner. On 38 minutes a Kerr Hay drive was brilliantly tipped around the post by Chris Smith. From the resultant corner, a Callum MacDonald header was headed off the line by Ross Kavanagh. Stirling stretched their lead on the hour mark. Connor McLaren went on as a substitute and immediately swung in a corner which Kavanagh headed home. Stirling were reduced to 10 men on 74 minutes when Liam Caddis collected a second booking for a foul on Hay. Montrose failed to make their man advantage count and Stirling added a third on 86 minutes. Darren Smith found McLaren and he shot past the unprotected Fleming. Montrose got a consolation a minute later when Hay found the net with a drive from the edge of the box.

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

Perth & Kinross

Celtic fan banned for sectarian offence at St Johnstone match

October 8 2015

A Celtic supporter has been banned from attending football matches, after being filmed singing a sectarian song with a group of fans who ran amok at a televised league match. Lewis Connor, 18, was made subject to a six-month football banning order, after a court heard he was a known figure in a group of fans called the Style Mile Vandals. The court heard the group of 25 fans linked to the Green Brigade threw flares and smoke bombs and pelted a police car with cans while their team was playing St Johnstone in the SPFL. Connor, of Atholl Crescent, Paisley, admitted singing sectarian songs at St Johnstone’s ground, McDiarmid Park in Perth, on May 15. Solicitor Kevin McCarron, defending, said that CCTV footage showed that scaffolder Connor’s involvement lasted for just 13 seconds. He said: “There’s no excuse for it. The Style Mile Vandals were a group of young men aged between 14 and 20. They no longer exist. He was clearly identified on CCTV. It was an error of judgment on his part.”

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.