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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...

Dundee United

Dundee United boss decides against John Rankin red card appeal

March 12 2013

Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara has decided not to appeal against John Rankin’s red card. The midfielder will now definitely miss Sunday’s derby against Dundee at Tannadice through suspension after being ordered off for a two-footed challenge on St Mirren player John McGinn on Saturday. The Tangerines’ boss did think Rankin had been unfortunate but has now concluded that any attempt to overturn the decision will be unsuccessful. Rankin will be joined in the stand for the Dark Blues clash by fellow midfielder Willo Flood, who is also banned because he has broken through the penalty points barrier. With that pair suspended and Johnny Russell and Gavin Gunning both ruled out through long-term injury, United will be hoping Jon Daly and Brian McLean are able to make it. Daly, who is rumoured to have agreed a pre-contract deal with Rangers, missed the goalless draw against the Buddies because of a groin problem and McLean hobbled off the park suffering from a hamstring strain. McNamara said: “Both Jon and Brian are doubts for the derby. We will have to wait until later in the week to assess them both. The loss of either would be a big blow for us.”

Scottish Championship

Queen of the South 2 Raith Rovers 1: Thomson says it’s time to “stand up and be counted”

February 27 2017

Jason Thomson wants an end-of-season flourish for Raith to begin at Ayr United on Tuesday night. The Rovers skipper reflected on a 16th game without a victory after first-half goals from John Rankin and Derek Lyle kept Queen of the South’s top-four hopes alive. Defender Jean Yves M’voto struck for the Fifers after the break, but it wasn’t enough and they travel to the west coast just four points above their next opponents in ninth. New boss John Hughes reckons that he has a squad which will rise to the challenge and Thomson insists they must turn things around after failing to record a win in the space of four months. “We need to stand up and be counted,” the 29-year-old full-back said. “We go down to Ayr now which is another massive game. “We can’t start feeling sorry for ourselves, and the manager certainly won’t allow us to. “Whether it is luck or a bit of brilliance, I’ll take anything that can get us a win. “It’s probably not going to be pretty on the eye. But we will go there aiming to get a win and we’re capable of winning. “It’s something we need to get in our heads that if we do win we go seven points clear of them.” Raith left themselves with far too much to do at Palmerston after ex-Dundee United midfielder Rankin’s seventh-minute opener was added to by a Lyle tap-in before the break. M’voto nodded home on the hour mark, but Queens stiffened to leave boss Hughes winless after two games since taking over in the Raith dugout from Gary Locke. Hughes said: “I can see why we are where we are and it’s my job to galvanise the players and get them back to winning ways.”


Crime author helps students take a stab at creative writing

February 22 2013

What Is it like to be one of the world’s most famous crime writers? Students at Adam Smith College found out the answer to that question and many more when they met crime author Ian Rankin. Rankin took time from his busy writing schedule to come home to Fife, where he was born and grew up, to meet with the three lucky winners of the Ian Rankin Scholarship, awarded through the Adam Smith Foundation the charitable trust of Adam Smith College. The author was welcomed to the college by executive director Aileen Lamden, staff and students from the Centre for Creatives. This year’s scholarship was open to all students studying HNC/D practical journalism, HND creative industries television, HND creative industries radio and NC media production. To take part, students had to submit a piece of creative writing, with the stories being read and judged by Ian Rankin. As well as being awarded £600 each, the winning students Andrew McArthur, Ciaran Sneddon and Paul Johnston were also presented with a signed copy of Rankin’s latest book, Standing In Another Man’s Grave. Before the presentation, the students joined Rankin for lunch, where they chatted about their course work and life in general. They then took part in a question-and-answer session held in the college’s state-of-the-art TV studio at the Stenton Campus in Glenrothes, which was also filmed by students from the HND television course. Rankin said: “The scholarship programme is a great initiative and provides many students with an extra bit of help and recognition while they study. I really enjoy reading the students’ work and it’s always great to come back to Fife.”

Dundee United

Jackie McNamara says Dundee United have no ‘for sale’ signs in their window

January 9 2014

Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara has given the strongest indication yet that the club is not looking to cash in during the transfer window. The Tangerines will, in all likelihood, face wave after wave of transfer speculation this month. Prize assets like Andy Robertson, Ryan Gauld, John Souttar, Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong have already been linked with an array of clubs and it is hard to ignore, for example, a visit to Tannadice from Everton boss Roberto Martinez. However, McNamara who has added Brentford’s Farid El Alagui to his squad stressed that no offer has been made for anyone by anyone since the window opened. Significantly, he argued that even if a bumper bid did come in then it may still not be in the best interests of the club to accept it. “There has been a lot of talk but there has been no bid for any player and long may that continue to be the case,” said McNamara. “We are just like any other club but it is not as if we want to sell anyone because we don’t. We want to keep them and build for the future. “It doesn’t suit us to sell anyone just now. There is no advantage to us regardless of the money side of things. “So for me it is important to keep them all and the sooner the window shuts the better.” Meanwhile, United are awaiting news back from John Rankin’s agent regarding a possible new deal. The midfielder’s contract runs out in the summer and, along with team-mate Gavin Gunning, he has yet to commit himself to staying on beyond that. Mark Wilson’s short-term deal expires at the end of the month but the indications are that he will be re-signing. “We have spoken to John’s agent and are waiting on him getting back to us,” said McNamara. “I appreciate that he has to do what is best for him and respect that position. “Mark Wilson’s deal is up at the end of the month so we are also trying to sort that out. If they want to be with us for the future then that’s great for us.”

Dundee United

Mario Bilate says John Rankin’s ‘warrior mentality’ has never been more needed

April 29 2016

John Rankin’s “warrior mentality” will ensure Dundee United have the right approach to Monday’s night’s Dundee derby. Bilate, who left the Tangerines back in November after an injury-blighted time on Tayside, spoke to his former team-mate after Sunday’s dreadful result and performance against Hamilton Accies. And the Dutch forward believes Rankin is the right man to help United avoid the fate of their bitter rivals sending them down to the Championship. He  said: "I spoke to John and he was hurting obviously. "We're quite close and I could tell by his voice that he'd taken defeat badly. "I didn't want to go into things too deeply as that would just have rubbed it in further. "But John has a warrior mentality which is exactly what they need at this terrible time. "I can't speak for the rest of the team and how they're feeling but there's no doubt John is the best professional - and one of the most highly-motivated - I've ever met. "He knows what's at stake and I would expect him to ensure they come out with all guns blazing against Dundee. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeTU1Jqj8bs "Nobody needs reminding of the potential consequences should United fail to win, but knowing Ranks he'll have been working on the player's minds all week and demanding a response. "He's one who certainly won't give up so if there's no reaction come Monday I'd be very surprised." Bilate didn't expect his old club to be in such a sorry state when he was freed five months ago, and admits he's puzzled as to their dire league position. He added: "When I left in November, I honestly felt it was just a dip in form that was to blame for results. "I was backing them to climb the table but unfortunately they've continued to have bad results. "It's hard to put your finger on why and it's been painful even here back in Holland watching these bad results. "I've got such an affinity with the club despite having only a short time in Scotland. "I'll be watching Monday night's game and cheering on the boys, because relegation at Dens Park is unthinkable. "I still have a lot of good friends at the club who know what this derby on Monday means to everyone."

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 United

St Mirren 0 Dundee United 0: McNamara faces selection crisis ahead of derby clash

March 11 2013

Dundee United are facing a derby selection crisis for the crucial Tannadice clash with city rivals Dundee. The Tangerines could be without as many as six first-team choices for Sunday’s match, a fixture they are desperate to win to have a chance of finishing in the SPL’s top six. The red card for John Rankin in the goalless draw with St Mirren on Saturday means he will be suspended, although boss Jackie McNamara has not yet ruled out an appeal. The United manager has confirmed that Willo Flood, his captain against the Buddies, will be serving a ban as he has broken through the cumulative penalty points barrier. As well as the suspensions, they have Johnny Russell (leg fracture) and Gavin Gunning (knee) definitely out, while Jon Daly (groin) missed Saturday’s trip to Paisley and Brian McLean hobbled off suffering from hamstring trouble. https://www.youtube.com/embed/RHymQZxUSjc?rel=0 McLean and Daly are to have their injuries assessed this week, while McNamara has a decision to make regarding Rankin, whom he felt was hard done by. The midfielder was sent packing by referee John Beaton for a challenge on Buddies player John McGinn. The match official was quick to punish Rankin for what he considered to be a dangerous two-footed tackle on an opponent. After watching TV footage of the incident, however, McNamara may yet fight the ban. “I have seen the tackle again and think it’s harsh but we still need to decide if it is worth appealing the decision,” said McNamara. “It is hard for the referee because the lad (McGinn) kind of turned into him and it happened so quickly, but it is not John’s style.” Even St Mirren boss Danny Lennon had sympathy, saying: “You get to know players and John is certainly not that type of professional. “From what I have seen, United will probably appeal that one.” For a full match report, see Monday’s Courier or try our digital edition.

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.

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