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's Kyle Benedictus insists the thin blue backline available to boss Barry Smith will hold firm against Stirling Albion. With Rhys Weston, Craig McKeown and Gary Irvine all suspended, Benedictus and Matt Lockwood are the only recognised first-choice defenders left. However, the 19-year-old, who was out on loan at Montrose earlier this season, believes whoever fills in at the back in Sunday's match will do a good job especially with goalkeeper Rab Douglas roaring them on. "Our defence is going to be patched up against Stirling because we don't have many bodies left now," said Bendictus. "It's going to be difficult because there will be big changes, but we will still have guys like Matt Lockwood and Rab Douglas with plenty of experience. "They have been a massive influence this season. Matt has played a lot of games in England and is a top player, while Rab is a Scotland international and has seen it all in his career. "Rab is brilliant at keeping everyone right and organising the defence. He is always talking and certainly doesn't miss you if he thinks you need to improve on a part of your game. He likes to shout, but that's what you need in a keeper. "They have been great for me because I am still learning the game and you want to listen to these kind of guys." Sunday's opponents are managed by former Dundee boss Jocky Scott, who handed Benedictus his debut for the Dark Blues nearly three years ago. Dundee could consign Stirling to the drop, and while Benedictus has the utmost respect for Scott, he insists there is no room for sentiment as his own club looks to move clear of the relegation play-off spot. He said, "We have five massive games left this season and want to get as many points as we can to make sure we are safe from relegation."
Footballer Kyle Benedictus had sentence deferred at the city's sheriff court after admitting carrying out two assaults. The 19-year-old punched Jamie Ross and Daryn Moran, and the court heard he also shouted abuse at his former girlfriend Hayley Macnamara. Depute fiscal David Cobb said Benedictus and Miss Macnamara had broken up in the run up to the New Year, but that on the night in question the footballer was trying to find her. Around 11pm on January 2, Benedictus, accompanied by another, went to the door of a flat in Tannadice Street and despite being asked to go away pushed into the property. He then carried out the assaults before police were called to the property. "It seems that the accused went straight for Moran who received several punches in the face and that caused him a cut lip and swelling," Mr Cobb said. "During this the accused was shouting things... to his former girlfriend in the course of all this. "Mr Ross also received a punch in the face and his face had a redness as a result." Benedictus, of Finella Place, admitted that on January 2 he conducted himself in a disorderly manner, shouted, swore and made threats of violence and assaulted Jamie Ross and Daryn Moran. The court was told that one of the witnesses in the case was Benedictus' former girlfriend, Hayley Macnamara. Neither of the two men injured in the attack required medical attention. The right back, who played for Dundee FC against Dunfermline on Tuesday night, appeared in court wearing a navy blue suit with dark blue tie. He was accompanied by Dens chief executive Harry McLean who said the player had the 100% backing of the club, despite his convictions.First offenceBecause it was Benedictus' first offence, Sheriff Tom Hughes ordered social inquiry, restriction of liberty and community service reports, and deferred sentence to April 20. Benedictus' bail, which includes conditions that he does not approach Mr Ross, Mr Moran or Miss Macnamara and that he is banned from Tannadice Street other than for commitments at Dens Park, was continued. After the case Mr McLean would not say whether the club would impose any censure of its own. He added, "The legal process hasn't been completed yet." Speaking later, Mr Moran (16), who works with a housing association, said he wished the whole episode had never happened. He said it had been a "drunken mistake," and said he hoped the incident would not affect Benedictus' employment with Dundee FC. He had no grudge against Benedictus over what had happened and just wanted the whole thing to go away. Mr Moran said, "I just want to let it be, to be honest, as it was a drunken mistake. I have never had bother with him before and that one night was just a wee bit stupid. "I just want to get on with my life and I've not got a problem with him. I have known Kyle and Hayley for a few years as Kyle was at the same school as me, and so was Hayley. It was just something stupid. "His job is important to his family and it is important to him, so I didn't want to get him."
Raith Rovers have signed former Dundee defender Kyle Benedictus. The Kirkcaldy club announced last week that they were going to be adding a new centre-half to their roster. Benedictus is that man, and he will join other recent arrivals at Stark’s Park, Ryan McCord, Darren Petrie and Mitch Megginson, for pre-season training. The 23-year-old came up through the ranks at Dens and had been with Dundee for seven years. However, it was made clear to him that he was not part of manager Paul Hartley’s plans last summer and he was sent out on a season-long loan to Alloa. He became a key member of the Wasps team, making 35 appearances and netting two crucial goals in the play-offs last month to help Alloa stay in the Championship. Ironically, the first of those counters came against Brechin who were managed at the time by present Rovers boss Ray McKinnon. At the end of the season, it was confirmed that Benedictus would be leaving Dundee and he will now ply his trade in the Championship with Rovers. Welcoming him to Stark’s Park, boss McKinnon commented, “I’m really pleased to have been able to bring Kyle in. His no nonsense approach, allied to his undoubted aerial presence will be a valuable asset to us next season.”
Raith Rovers’ last-gasp goal hero Kyle Benedictus reckons the point earned against Alloa could prove to be a crucial one in the race for fourth place. The Wasps looked set to claim their first home win of the campaign, only for their former defender Benedictus to rescue a point for Rovers with a 92nd-minute equaliser. It was not the result Raith had hoped for against the bottom club but, with results elsewhere going in their favour, the Kirkcaldy men extended their lead over Queen of the South to eight points. “It’s a disappointing result, but we’ll maybe look at it as a positive point come the end of the season,” Benedictus said. “Queens got beat again so we’re a point higher on them we’ve got to look at the positives. “We had a lot of chances but Alloa played well, got their bodies on the line and blocked a lot of things. “On another day it would’ve been three points, but it could be a good point.” Raith created the best openings in a first 45 minutes of half chances. Ryan Hardie had two glimpses of goal in quick succession after working space for himself in the box, but his first effort was blocked by a defender near the line, while keeper Scott Gallacher parried the second. Alloa’s best effort of the first half came on 18 minutes when Connor McManus tried his luck from 25 yards and his dipping volley landed beyond the bar. At the other end Mark Stewart fired a James Craigen cut-back wide, before the striker charged down goalkeeper Gallacher’s clearance but lost out in the race for the empty net with Dougie Hill. Rovers started the second half strongly with both Stewart and Aidan Connolly testing Gallacher with shots from the edge of the area. However, Alloa appeared to grow in confidence and after Michael Duffy went close with a volley from 20 yards, the hosts took the lead on 63 minutes. The Raith marking left a lot to be desired as Mitch Megginson burst to the byline unchallenged before cutting the ball back to unmarked Steven Hetherington, who had a simple tap-in. Raith responded by bringing Joel Thomas off the bench to add a physical presence up front but, despite constant Rovers pressure, the visitors struggled to create chances. Alloa had a chance to kill the game on the break when Duffy raced clear only to be denied by Kevin Cuthbert. With the Alloa defence blocking everything Rovers could throw at them, it seemed the hosts were destined to win at home for the first time this season. But Benedictus popped up with the equaliser two minutes into injury time, hooking the ball home from close range after Thomas had flicked on a Rory McKeown long throw. “After all the high-profile games recently I knew this was a tough game,” said Raith boss Ray McKinnon. “A lot of teams have struggled here. It’s a hard place to come because of the park and the way they play. They are quite solid. “I was delighted we kept going until the final whistle. There’s a good spirit amongst the boys and I think they deserved at least a draw.”
Brechin have a mountain to climb after the first leg of this SPFL Championship semi-final against Alloa. The Wasps had by far the better chances throughout with former Newcastle striker Michael Chopra opening the scoring and then deep in stoppage time on-loan Dundee defender Kyle Benedictus netted a second for the Wasps. Brechin boss Ray McKinnon made a whole host of changes from the team that was defeated by Stranraer at the weekend with regular first-choice picks Alan Trouten, Bobby Barr, Colin Hamilton, Andy Jackson, Gerry McLauchan and keeper Graeme Smith all drafted back in to the starting line-up. Not surprisingly considering everything that was at stake, there was a fast and furious opening to the game with neither side allowing the other a second on the ball. The result was that the first chance of the match didn’t arrive until the 24th minute when Alloa’s Mark Docherty tried a long-range chip with the ball sailing through to land on the top of Smith’s net. The keeper then had to be at his best just before half-time when Iain Flannigan got his head to a Docherty cross 12 yards out with Smith having to produce an outstanding save to claw the ball away for a corner. However, the goalie was helpless to prevent Alloa taking the lead in the 56th minute. Ryan McCord sent a ball to the Brechin back post towards Buchanan who cut it back for Chopra to easily net from close range past the helpless Smith. It was no more than Alloa deserved with City struggling as an attacking force and Wasps goalie John Gibson a virtual spectator. McKinnon brought on Robert Thomson and then Calum Tapping in a bid to change that and it almost worked when the latter whipped in a superb ball from the right with the former just inches away from what would have been a tap-in at the Alloa back post. Then in the 92nd minute, the Wasps Flannigan sent a corner in from the left all the way to the Brechin back post with Benedictus heading powerfully past Smith to leave the Angus side with it all to do in the second leg. Attendance 505. Brechin Smith, E. McNeil, Hamilton, McLean, McLauchlan, Fusco (Tapping, 72), Trouten (Ferguson, 85), Molloy, A. Jackson (Thomson, 64), Masson, Barr. Subs not used S. Jackson, Tough, P. O’Neil. Alloa Gibson, Doyle, Benedictus, Gordon, Chopra (Layne, 73), Cawley, Buchanan (Spence, 89), Docherty, McCord (Holmes, 80), Flannigan, Meggatt. Subs not used Hetherington, Ferguson, Ashgar, Couser. Referee Brian Colvin.
They may have been part of a team that shipped five goals at Ibrox last week but Raith boss Ray McKinnon believes his first-choice centre-half pairing have the potential to be the best in the Championship. Kyle Bendictus and Lewis Toshney joined the club in the summer with the manager admitting they were exactly the sort of young and hungry players he was looking for. They have linked well despite that blip against Rangers and McKinnon is expecting even more from the duo as the season progresses. He said: “I think they (Benedictus and Toshney) have been great. “If you take the Rangers game out of the equation, they have been brilliant. “They were excellent at Ibrox, they had the right attitude and circumstances went against them. “I honestly think they could become the best in the league.” It may be early days but Rangers are already looking to be the best in the Championship this season. And McKinnon believes Mark Warburton’s side are capable of negotiating the entire campaign without tasting defeat. He said: “If they play the way they did on Saturday, Rangers could go through the season unbeaten. “If you are really organised and get a lot of luck and they have an off-day then they may get beaten. “But if they play the way they did against us and Queen of the South the week before, then you wouldn’t bet against them going through the season unbeaten. “I think everybody is playing for second, third and fourth place and everyone would like to think they are in with a shot of that, we are no different. “I won’t set any targets, because there are a lot of good teams Falkirk, Hibs, St Mirren, Queen of the South, who are all strong. “This is a very competitive league this year. But hopefully we can get back to winning ways on Saturday and that would represent a good start to the season.” Prior to the Rangers game, a war of words broke out between the two clubs over the recall of Rangers player Ryan Hardie from Scotland Under-19 duty. McKinnon admitted though that he had no quarrel with Rangers or Warburton. He said: “There was no problem with Mark. It would have made no difference whether they had Ryan Hardie or not, with the quality throughout their team, they were that good. “Mark was brand new after the match and we chatted away after the game, so that was great. As far as I’m concerned, that is done and dusted and we are looking ahead to this weekend.” The manager revealed that long-term injury absentee Craig Barr finally has some light at the end of the tunnel. He added: “Craig has had a jag and could be back in training in three weeks. It really would be like a new signing and it would give us options to move Toshney into midfield and things like that.”
Barry Smith has had no other option but to turn to youth over the last couple of weeks, but the Dundee boss believes short-term necessity could prove to be long-term gain for the Dens Park club. No fewer than four youngsters have made their debuts in the last two fixtures a situation that wouldn't have arisen had Smith's threadbare squad not been further afflicted by a raft of suspensions. He admitted, though, that being fast-tracked into the first team will do their careers no harm. The Dark Blues' manager said, "It was Graham Webster's debut and Alan Tulleth's as well. "It was also the first time that Gary Bartlett and Connor Rennie have played at Dens, after making their debuts the previous week. "On top of that Kyle Benedictus and Leighton McIntosh haven't played that many games either." He added, "They all did everything we asked of them on Sunday. "The young lads are getting a chance that they might not have had in other circumstances now that they've played we know how far they've come. "We're not saying they're the finished article in any shape or form, but they've certainly done themselves justice." According to Smith the inexperienced group couldn't have picked a better time to emerge into the spotlight as far as getting wholehearted backing from the stands is concerned. He said, "We're fortunate just now that the supporters have been really good and are right behind everybody. "It's a good time to have youngsters in the team in that regard." He added, "The fans are giving the boys a chance, which is what I'd asked for. "They are going to make mistakes, but it's how they react to mistakes that matters and I felt they did that well on Sunday."
Award-winning journalist and bestselling author Max Blumenthal pulled in the crowds at Dundee University when he appeared as guest speaker at the Dalhousie building. The controversial Blumenthal, whose articles and video documentaries challenging both Israel and the United States’ Middle East policies have appeared in newspapers worldwide, attracted a near-capacity audience for the lecture on his outspoken views on Israel and its policies. Blumenthal caused controversy in late 2014 and early 2015 when he compared decorated Navy SEAL Chris Kyle to mass murderer Lee Malvo and criticised the film American Sniper which depicts Kyle’s tours of duty in Iraq. Blumenthal said the movie heavily distorts the truth of the war on Iraq and calls it a “bogus whitewash of the atrocities committed by US troops there”.
Dundee assistant manager Ray Farningham is hoping a fit-again Nicky Riley will provide the Dark Blues with a creative “X Factor”. The 27-year-old winger made his return from a medial ligament injury in the 3-0 victory over Livingston on Friday night in what was just his second appearance of the season. The former Celtic player came on for a memorable 30-minute cameo appearance and set up Peter MacDonald for a simple tap-in for the third goal following a mazy run through the visitors’ defence. Now, Farningham is keeping his fingers crossed that Riley can stay free of injury and enjoy an extended run in the side. The assistant boss said: “It was great to have Nicky back on Friday night. He showed what he is capable of when he came on. “He has that ability to go past players and create. It was definitely something we were missing in previous games, that creative side of it. “Supporters love that and so do I there isn’t enough of it in the game. The problem with Nicky last year was that he was always picking up niggly knocks so he really needs a run of games to get going fully.” Farningham revealed that two of Dundee’s injury victims are easing back to fitness and that Kevin McBride who hobbled off after 77 minutes against Livingston has made a rapid recovery. He said: “Nicky and Kyle Benedictus are back in full training with the squad and hopefully Iain Davidson and Steven Doris may return before the end of the week. Barra (McBride) also trained today despite taking a sore one on Friday night.” Meanwhile, it is understood that St Mirren defender Lee Mair will not be joining the Dark Blues for what would have been his second stint with the club.