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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...


Fabrice Muamba collapse brings back painful memories for St Johnstone boss

March 20 2012

The sight of Fabrice Muamba collapsing on the pitch at White Hart Lane at the weekend brought back harrowing memories for St Johnstone manager Steve Lomas. The Perth boss was a team-mate at West Ham of Marc-Vivien Foe, who suffered a heart-related death in 2003 while representing Cameroon in the African Cup of Nations. Lomas had a life-threatening incident of his own in 1995 when he swallowed his tongue during a match against Crystal Palace. On top of the Muamba incident, closer to home there was the sad news that Kilmarnock midfielder Liam Kelly's dad died while watching him at Hampden. Lomas said: ''I couldn't imagine my life without football but a weekend like the one we've just had puts everything into perspective. It's been a really sad weekend. The pictures of Fabrice were pretty harrowing. ''It reminded me of Marc Vivien Foe, who I played with at West Ham. Unfortunately Marc passed away but hopefully Fabrice will pull through. ''Marc was a lovely guy a gentleman. I was numb at the time when I heard the news about Marc. It's so hard to comprehend, especially somebody as fit as him. Marc was an absolute beast of a man. His muscles had muscles. ''I swallowed my tongue once playing for Man City, and I know that my mum and my family had a horrendous night. They got me round quite quickly but my mum was watching it on TV. ''So I can understand what Patrice's family must have been going through watching the match on Saturday night.'' He added: ''And then when you hear about something like what has happened to Liam Kelly's dad, the game almost doesn't matter. ''Kenny Shiels is very close to his players we all are as managers. Rightly or wrongly, people have a go at footballers. But we see the human side of things.'' Photo by Rebecca Naden/PA Wire


‘I just hope he pulls through’ Fabrice Muamba scare helps Scott Severin look at the bigger picture

March 20 2012

Dundee United's Scott Severin has admitted Fabrice Muamba's life-threatening collapse at the weekend put his own problems into perspective. Severin, who had been battling back from a horrific triple leg break suffered while playing against St Mirren in August, was told earlier this month that his ankle which had been operated on four times previously was so badly damaged he would have to hang up his boots for good. It was shattering news, but Severin admits his problems are nothing compared to those of 22-year-old Muamba who collapsed with a heart attack during Bolton's FA Cup game against Spurs and is now fighting for his life in hospital. The 33-year-old said: ''I found out a few weeks ago that I wouldn't be able to play again. I went to London to see the consultant and, after looking at the scans, he told me I would have to give up. ''The damage to the ankle is too much and although he said they could operate again, the chances were I would break down pretty quickly. ''It took me a wee while to get used to it and I was upset but I've got over it now. And when you look at what has happened to the lad Fabrice Muamba at Bolton it shows there are people much worse off than yourself. ''I still have my health where he's fighting for his life and I just hope he pulls through.'' Severin, who also played for Hearts, Aberdeen, Watford and Kilmarnock during a 13-year professional career, revealed that he had been in agony after each training session as he tried to work his way back to fitness. It was fears over his long-term future and even being able to play in the park with his sons that convinced him he had no other option but to quit the game. He said: ''One day I felt really good and the next I was terrible. I would get up and the swelling was huge so there was no point in continuing. ''I have to think about the long term and what things will be like years down the line. I want to be able to play football in the park with my kids, Flynn and Zack, and if I'd pushed this then I might not have been able to. ''I have had four operations on it and the damage is still as bad, so it's time to give it up. ''I wanted to finish playing when I was either too old or no longer good enough but that decision has been taken out of my hands. It wasn't the way I saw it ending I wanted to give up on my terms but there's nothing we can do about that now.'' Severin is doing his coaching badges and Tannadice boss Peter Houston has allowed him help out with training over the last few weeks. He said: ''I have been back in among the lads and the gaffer has been letting me help out with training to get some experience. I am doing my coaching badges and would like to stay in the game in some capacity. ''I have been in football for 13 years and played over 400 games. I would have liked to have played more but injuries prevented me from doing that. ''But I have a lot of happy memories from the clubs I played for and, of course, playing for my country as well. I have had a few messages saying good luck from people. It's very nice to hear and I have to thank everyone.''

Readers' letters

March 27: We should put ‘faith’ in scientific advances and professional healthcare

March 27 2012

Today's letters to The Courier. Sir, - John Miller's article on Friday, March 23 ('The whole nation united in prayer') suggests the tragic collapse of Bolton footballer Fabrice Muamba has "thrust the concept of prayer and its effectiveness on the minds of the British people". I do, of course, wish Mr Muamba a full and speedy recovery, but I think that if this happens then it will be down to his underlying fitness, the timely, professional treatment he received on the pitch, and the care he has been receiving in hospital. Credit should be given to the good men and women who dedicate themselves to helping people who have suffered such unfortunate accidents and to those who determine the best methods of assisting their recovery. Whilst I am sure some people may attain some level of personal comfort from the act of praying, or even that it may help some people to know that they are being prayed for, I am not persuaded prayer is effective in achieving physical outcomes through the intercession of a deity. Mr Millar suggests some historical events have been influenced by prayer, but it is easy to find examples, even quite recently, where prayer has been publicly invoked and the desired result has not been achieved. For example, in Texas last year there were a huge number of wildfires (some might say of biblical proportions) and the Governor of Texas invoked a prayer rally to ask for rain, then prayed, publicly and often. There followed a rainless spring and summer. July was the hottest month in recorded Texas history and most of Texas suffered "extreme or exceptional" drought. Later in office he asked 30,000 evangelical followers to pray for an economic recovery. This didn't happen either. Perhaps Governor Perry wasn't doing it right, or perhaps there is a much simpler explanation. I suggest we should put our "faith" in scientific advances and professional healthcare. Norry Passway.29 Albany Road,Dundee. Choose prayer over CPR? Sir, - How the likes of John Miller's article commands column space is beyond me. No one should be in any doubt that the reason a young footballer is showing encouraging signs of recovery is down in part (a very large part) to the skill, knowledge and professionalism of the medical professionals who have attended him since those horrific scenes the other evening. To suggest any thing else is, frankly, offensive. Imagine if those attending in the very first moments of his collapse had chosen prayer over CPR! I doubt if Mr Miller would be enlightening us then on the power of prayer. N. Austin.10 Shepherd Lane,Arbroath. Real miracle of Dunkirk Sir, - I would like to make a few comments concerning John Miller's article on prayer. I certainly have no wish to make light of belief in prayer, but the miracle of Dunkirk was most definitely down to the men of 51st Highland Division, who held back the German forces. Many paid with their lives and many more were marched into prison camps to be starved and worked to death. That any men survived was a miracle. And to think they are almost airbrushed from history each time the British public are reminded of the miracle of Dunkirk. Margaret Borland.57 Rodd Road,Dundee. A question of principle Sir, - The Rev John Cameron targets his ironic barbs superbly (Letters, March 24), but the 'granny tax' raises a separate question of principle. Why, purely due to our age, should pensioners like me enjoy a higher tax-free allowance than the working population, many with young families and on average incomes little more than mine? Churchill's original justification for age allowances in 1925 surely no longer exists. Pensioners do not pay NIC (effectively another income tax of about 10%), or their previous pension contributions, or travel-to-work costs; and many will no longer be in the 40% tax bracket. The combined effect for those in some final-salary schemes can leave them with net disposable incomes almost unchanged from their employment. Many pensioners much wealthier than he or I can limit their taxable income to £25,000 for example if they have substantial ISAs to draw down, while others choose to work. Why should these groups benefit even more than younger workers? The coalition should have announced in June 2010 an early move to incorporating tax-free cash benefits like the fuel allowance into the taxable state pension; linking or even equalising that pension and a single tax-free allowance with the minimum wage for 18-20 year-olds (£10,000); amalgamating income tax and NIC; and improving the progressive tax structure. John Birkett.12 Horseleys Park,St Andrews. Bridging gap in knowledge Sir, - Reading Ken Guild's remarks about "another bridge falling down" I presumed he was referring to the Tay Bridge disaster, implying it was caused by the use of Scottish steel. In that case, may I inform him that the bridge was constructed from cast and wrought iron rather than from steel? The first major bridge to be constructed from Scottish (and Welsh) steel was the Forth Bridge which, as far as I know, is still standing. (Mrs) JE McFarlane.41 Highfield Place,Birkhill. Closures will be a nightmare Sir, - On the subject of public toilet closures in Fife, my daughter took my granddaughter to the West Sands play area in St Andrews recently. Soon after they arrived, my granddaughter needed the toilet. The toilets there were closed. My daughter had to drive up to South Street in order to use the toilet there. It cost her £1 to park and 30p to use the toilet. Luckily she found a parking place, but that might not be possible in the holiday season. Public toilet closures will be a nightmare for the elderly and people with children. Mrs Margaret Duncan.32 Pickford Crescent,Cellardyke. Get involved: to have your say on these or any other topics, email your letter to letters@thecourier.co.uk or send to Letters Editor, The Courier, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL. Letters should be accompanied by an address and a daytime telephone number.

Perth & Kinross

Family have new determination to fight for routine heart screening

March 20 2012

A Perthshire family have renewed calls for widespread heart screening as the Premier League footballer Fabrice Muamba continues to fight for his life. The Bolton Wanderers player remains in a critical condition at a London hospital following his cardiac arrest during an FA Cup tie at Tottenham on Saturday. The horrific scenes, which were broadcast live from White Hart Lane, held particular relevance for Breadalbane Academy teachers Hazel and Gordon Murch. They were left devastated when their 21-year-old son Andrew died in 2007 as a result of heart failure while he slept. Since then they have campaigned for routine heart screening for young people. Towards the end of last month, the couple were given a major boost when a number of senior pupils at the school had their hearts tested. The students completed a questionnaire, a clinical examination and an electrocardiogram through the Scottish Government-funded CAYA programme (Cardiac Assessment of Young Athletes). ''My ambition has always been to offer this in schools,'' said Mrs Murch. ''It's a horrendous situation we are in at the moment and I won't stop campaigning until testing becomes boringly routine. ''I know there are costs involved in doing this but the upset for families who suddenly realise their child is gone is a far greater price to pay.'' The FA Cup sixth-round match was abandoned after 41 minutes when Mr Muamba collapsed on the pitch with no-one around him. Medics spent six minutes trying to resuscitate him on the field before he was rushed to the intensive care unit of the heart attack centre at the London Chest Hospital. Heart disease is most commonly associated with older people, but the events at the weekend have hit home the stark reality that it can strike anyone, irrespective of age. Exactly a week before Mr Muamba was taken to hospital tragedy struck Dundee's amateur football leagues when 20-year-old Shaun Kelly collapsed and died while playing for his team the Thomson Gunners at Drumgeith Park, Dundee. The funeral of the father-of-one, who was expecting a second child with his partner Lisa Hansen, was held on Tuesday morning at St Pius X in Douglas. Shaun's family have been too upset to speak, but Mrs Murch said she understands how the family are feeling. ''When I heard about Shaun's death it stirred a lot of emotions and opened up a wound that has never fully healed,'' she continued. ''I have very little memory of going to my son's funeral. You have no idea of what is going on. ''In retrospect I wonder how I managed to do what Shaun's family are doing today. When you find out your child is dead it is utter shock. ''You often hear the line 'It's every parents worst nightmare' but it really is,'' added Mrs Murch. Each year there are about 500 deaths in the UK from cardiac arrest among the under-30s. Photo by Stephen Pond/PA Wire

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.


Angry spat over future of Fife base RAF Leuchars

April 11 2011

A furious war of words has broken out in North East Fife, after Liberal Democrat candidate Iain Smith was accused of "blatant double standards." His SNP rival Rod Campbell hit out as the emotive issue of RAF Leuchars' future began to dominate the local campaign trail. Mr Campbell insisted the Lib Dem candidate had been "less than straight" with voters in a new campaign leaflet. "The latest Lib Dem leaflet tries to take credit for changes in taxation by reminding voters that the UK Government is a Tory/Lib Dem coalition," Mr Campbell said. "The changes in question were introduced by George Osborne in his recent Budget and Iain Smith seems happy in this case to be associated with the Conservatives in London. "However, right next to the article on taxation is one about the threat to RAF Leuchars. It posts Mr Smith as champion of the campaign to save the airbase. "Nowhere does this article recognise that it is the Lib Dem/Tory coalition that threatens Scottish defence facilities, not least RAF Leuchars. "When Iain Smith likes the actions of the London coalition, he claims credit for his party. "When it comes to RAF Leuchars, he pretends that he has nothing to do with Nick Clegg and the actions of the London government. However, Mr Smith was happy to laugh off the SNP missive. "This is typically laughable bluster from the SNP," he said. "Yes, thanks to the Liberal Democrats thousands of Fifers will pay no tax from this month and around 180,000 will have a tax cut and, yes, Sir Menzies Campbell MP and Ialong with members of the local community and the RAF Leuchars task forceare campaigning vigorously to save the base. "I am a campaigner for my community and RAF Leuchars is vital to our social fabric, local economy and defence of the UK. "The MoD have repeatedly said that no decisions have been made on the future of RAF bases, but that does not stop us from making the case for its retention. "Sadly, the SNP candidate has yet again undermined the efforts of those fighting hard to save the base."

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


Match report: St Johnstone 0 Bolton Wanderers 2

August 3 2010

St Johnstone were defeated by an English Premiership side for the second time in three days when two late goals gave Bolton Wanderers victory at McDiarmid Park. Perth boss Derek McInnes wasn't too downhearted, however, as he felt his team's slump in the closing stages was the result of a gruelling recent pre-season programme. He pointed out, "For about 80 minutes we matched a very good side but that was our fourth game in six days and in hindsight that was a huge demand of my players. "I wasn't able to change things around as much as I would have wanted in those games so it was a big ask of a lot of players. "In the long term, though, it won't do us any harm and there were a lot of pleasing aspects of the game." His predecessor at McDiarmid, Bolton manager Owen Coyle, predicted a successful season for his former club. He said, "That was a very competitive game and was a good exercise for both teams. Every time I see Saints there is a progression. "They were very unlucky to not make the top six last season and that will definitely be their aspiration this time around." McInnes made three changes to the side which lost to Manchester United in Alan Main's testimonial on Saturday, with Michael Duberry, Sam Parkin and trialist defender Stuart Duff all starting. In contrast to the weekend match, which was action-packed from the off, last night's friendly was very much a slow burner. The crowd had to wait until the 15th minute for the first real threat on goal from either team.TeasingSaints' Chris Millar made a strong run down the right flank and whipped over a teasing cross aimed at Sam Parkin, who had charged into the box at the near post. The burly striker, however, was thwarted by a perfectly-timed interception from multi-million pound rated defender Gary Cahill, who turned the ball behind. From the resultant corner the ball eventually broke to Liam Craig on the opposite side of the pitch and he floated a cross into the six-yard box which Steven Anderson narrowly failed to connect with. Saints continued to take the play to their Premiership opponents and Marcus Haber won a free-kick 25 yards out when he was brought down by Stuart Holden. Unfortunately for the home team, Danny Grainger was wide of the target with the set-piece. Just short of the half-hour mark Bolton made their presence felt when Fabrice Muamba burst through the centre of midfield and fed a pass into the path of Kevin Davies. From the 18-yard line the Wanderers' captain attempted a deft lob of Graeme Smith but it drifted just over the crossbar. At the other end of the pitch, on 39 minutes, Parkin sought to succeed where Davies had failed but he too couldn't score with an edge of the box lob, which this time was underhit and comfortably gathered by Jussi Jaaskelainen.PoweredSix minutes into the second half, Martin Petrov powered into the Saints box and his progress seemed to be slowed by an Anderson tug, but referee Willie Collum waved away the Bulgarian's penalty claim. Both sides made a few second half substitutions. One of the Perth replacements, winger Cleveland Taylor, found Millar in space with his first touch. The Saints midfielder should have then done better with a straightforward pass to another sub, Scott Dobie, which would have given him a tap-in to an open goal. However, it was clumsily overhit and flashed across the six-yard box untouched. Taylor came close again to helping create a Saints opener when a perfectly-weighted cross found Dobie, whose diving header flew just wide of the near post. Bolton broke the deadlock on 77 minutes with a moment of individual quality from Petrov. He cushioned a long diagonal ball from Robbie Blake, cut inside left-back Grainger and rifled a powerful shot into the roof of the net. Their lead was doubled just four minutes later when Blake found Johan Elmander in space on the Bolton right and he finished low past a helpless Smith. Bolton came close to making the final scoreline even more emphatic when a Gretar Steinson shot from the edge of the box shaved Smith's left-hand post. Attendance 2076. St Johnstone Smith, Duff, Grainger (Jackson 81), Morris, Anderson, Duberry, Millar, Davidson (Taylor 65), Parkin (Dobie 61), Craig, Haber (Samuel 45). Bolton Jaaskelainen, Steinson, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Chung (Alonso 75), Holden (M Davies 71), Muamba (Cohen 81), Taylor (Blake 65), Petrov, K Davies (Elmander 75). Referee Willie Collum.