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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...

Angus & The Mearns

Argentine family ‘deeply grateful’ after Arbroath marine sends Battle of Two Sisters relic back where it belongs

October 30 2015

The identity tag of a fallen Argentine soldier that lay in a former Angus Marine’s drawer for 33 years has been returned to his family. Graham Ellis, from Kirkton of Auchterhouse, removed the tag from the body of Assistant Sergeant Ramon Gumersindo Acosta on the battlefield in the Falkland Islands in 1982. Acosta was killed by a mortar blast following the Battle of Two Sisters, which took place over two days in June as British forces advanced toward Port Stanley. A 20-year-old member of Arbroath-based 45 Commando at the time, Mr Ellis and his unit were ordered to remove the tags from the dead bodies for identification by the Red Cross. Mr Ellis placed the tag in his pocket and only discovered it on his return to Britain. It remained in a drawer until a comrade of Mr Acosta’s saw an article on this website about Mr Ellis’s attempts to return it to the fallen soldier’s family. It was sent back to Argentina and is now with his daughter, with plans for a formal presentation by the Argentine government to take place in the near future. Mr Ellis said he was “very pleased”, while a former comrade of Mr Acosta said the family were “deeply grateful” to Mr Ellis and The Courier. Acosta was a national hero and a street bears his name in his native town of Jess Mara. He had written a letter to his five-year-old son, Diego, eight days before he died. It read: “I write from my position to tell you that two days ago we were in a helicopter which was bombed, the helicopter fell and caught fire, killing several colleagues of mine but I was saved and am now awaiting the final attack. “I saved three comrades from the flames. I tell you so you know you have a father you can be proud of and want you to keep this letter as a document if I do not return: and if I go back tomorrow, when we’re together I will read it at home.”


Raith Rovers see Laurie Ellis face injury as ‘an unfortunate accident’

April 24 2012

Raith Rovers boss John McGlynn believes there was no malice involved when Falkirk's Farid El Alagui caught Laurie Ellis in the face with his boot, breaking the defender's jaw in two places on Saturday. Ellis also lost teeth in the horrific incident which caused the game to be held up for 10 minutes as he received treatment, and overshadowed what could prove to be a pivotal result in the Kirkcaldy club's season. A hat-trick for Raith's Brian Graham combined with goals from the Moroccan El Alagui and Blair Alston for a five-goal thriller at the Falkirk Stadium. The 3-2 win, allied to relegation rivals Ayr United and Queen of the South both losing, put Raith three points clear of the danger zone and they can ensure their First Division survival if they can defeat the Doonhamers this Saturday at Stark's Park. However, they will have to attempt to do so without Ellis, who underwent an operation on Monday. McGlynn said: ''I have watched the incident a number of times on video and it was just an unfortunate accident. There was definitely no malice or intent to hurt Laurie. ''Obviously, when something like that happens with the game held up for so long you worry that the players will be put off their stride. But they showed lots of character to go on and pick up a vital win. ''That was our first away win since December and we will take a lot of confidence from that as we prepare for a vital encounter with Queen of the South on Saturday.''

Dundee United

Analysis: Laurie Ellis best of the bunch of Dundee United caretaker bosses

November 6 2017

Dundee United caretaker boss Laurie Ellis made it two wins out of two with victory over St Mirren on Saturday. Our football writer Ian Roache assesses how his spell in charge compares with those of the other men who have stepped into the role since the Jim McLean era. Gordon Wallace: As well as having written his name into Dundee folklore as the man who scored the winner against Celtic when they won the League Cup in 1973 and been a former manager at Dens, Wallace was a key figure at United over the years. He moved to the Tangerines in August 1976 via US side Seattle Sounders after his distinguished playing career at the Dark Blues ended. He was appointed coach under boss Jim McLean in 1983 before leaving to become manager in his own right across the road at Dens. He returned to Tannadice to work under Ivan Golac in 1993. Wallace became caretaker in March 1995 after Golac’s departure. He was in charge for a 2-1 loss away to Motherwell and a home draw against Hearts before making way for Billy Kirkwood at the end of that month. Record: One loss and one draw. Billy Dodds: Assistant manager Billy Dodds stepped forward following the exit of Gordon Chisholm from Tannadice in January 2006. He was the only caretaker to boast a 100% win record before Ellis. Former United player Dodds was in the dugout for the Tangerines’ home game against Falkirk and masterminded a 2-1 win over the Bairns before stepping aside for another former Tangerines' striker, Craig Brewster, midway through the month. Record: One win. Dave Bowman: The popular ex-player was handed a thankless task following the sacking of Jackie McNamara in late September 2015. The Tangerines were already in deep trouble and boasted just five points from their first nine games. Bowman took charge for the match at Firhill against fellow strugglers Partick Thistle on October 3 and that was the day they sank to the foot of the Premiership, leapfrogged by the Jags thanks to a painful 3-0 loss. Bowman did a professional job during his short stint but must have been a relieved man when he made way for Mixu Paatelainen midway through the month. Record: One loss. Gordon Young: He was Paatelainen’s assistant and did his duty after the big Finn left the scene on May 4, 2016, following relegation at Dens Park two days earlier. Young dug in and did very well under the circumstances. His first game was a 3-2 win up at Inverness, which was followed by a 3-3 home draw with Partick and a 4-2 final-day victory down at Kilmarnock. He retired unbeaten before Ray McKinnon took over. Record: Two wins and one draw. Laurie Ellis: Ellis can now boast of being the best of the bunch. A reluctant arrival in the dugout following the departure of his gaffer and friend McKinnon following a home loss to Inverness on October 21, Ellis took training the following Monday and then prepared for what looked like a tricky trip to face bogey team Dumbarton the following Saturday. Showing boldness and self-belief, he made five changes and it paid off as United won 2-0. With that excellent result in the bag, the momentum carried forward to Saturday’s home game against league leaders St Mirren at Tannadice. With the pressure right on the players to pull level on points with the Buddies at the top of the Championship, Ellis was smiling again as United won 2-1 - a scoreline that flattered the visitors. Record: Two wins.

Scottish Championship

Raith’s Laurie Ellis to leave the club at end of this month

May 13 2016

Raith Rovers have announced that Laurie Ellis will be leaving the club at the end of this month. The Kirkcaldy side lost manager Ray McKinnon to Dundee United earlier this week and Courier Sport understands Ellis will be joining him at Tannadice as his assistant. Ellis, who had a long and distinguished playing career with Rovers, was McKinnon’s No.2 during his tenure at Stark’s Park. Now, after 14 years with the club, he is set to leave and while Raith are sad to see him go, they paid the 36-year-old a glowing tribute. In a statement, the club said: “We are very sorry to have to announce that, despite strenuous efforts to retain his services, player/coach Laurie Ellis has decided he does not wish to stay with the club beyond the end of May. “Laurie has served the club with distinction as a player in three spells totalling 14 years, the last four of which as 1st team and youth development coach under three successive managers, John McGlynn, Grant Murray and Ray McKinnon.” Rovers CEO Eric Drysdale added: “Throughout his career at Raith Rovers, Laurie has been a model professional, acting throughout with complete integrity and professionalism. “His playing career enjoyed many highlights, and his work in recent times on youth development has been instrumental in developing emerging talent such as Lewis Vaughan and Ross Callachan plus a host of prospective and apprentice professionals. “Laurie will be badly missed at Stark’s Park but it goes without saying that he leaves with our very best wishes for what we are sure will be a distinguished coaching career.”

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

Dundee United confirm Laurie Ellis as Ray McKinnon’s number two

May 16 2016

Dundee United have confirmed that Laurie Ellis will be Ray McKinnon’s assistant manager. Ellis has followed McKinnon from Raith to Tannadice on a three-year contract. McKinnon said: “Laurie is a great professional. He is diligent and hard-working and very passionate about his job. “He is a fantastic coach and very motivated and he is the ideal person for me to bring as assistant and he will add so much to the coaching side of the club.” Two other members of McKinnon’s Raith backroom team, Grant Johnson and Darren Taylor, have also been brought on board.


Raith Rovers legends pay tribute to club stalwart Ally Gourlay at memorial match

April 11 2016

Raith Rovers legends returned to the pitch in honour of a club stalwart who lost his fight with cancer at the age of 53. Ally’s Game was played in memory of Ally Gourlay at his beloved Stark’s Park. His sons and daughters Jonny, Matthew and Samantha led players past and present, including John McStay, Marvin Andrews, Laurie Ellis and Stevie Crawford, on to the field. In the dug-outs were John McGlynn and Jimmy Nicholl, while John Rowbotham referreed. Hundreds of people turned out for the charity clash, which ended in a 5-5 draw. Teams wore special shirts with Gourlay 53, in tribute to the Kirkcaldy club’s former media officer and lifelong Rovers fan, and in the 53rd minute a minute’s applause was held. Mr Gourlay regarded Stark’s Park as a home from home and his death from cancer of the oesophagus in February sent shockwaves round the club’s fanbase. Yesterday’s game raised money for the Maggie’s Fife cancer care centre, a cause close to the Gourlay family’s hearts, and Raith Rovers youth development. It was organised by the team behind the Raith Hall of Fame, in which Mr Gourlay himself was inducted. Mr Gourlay, who was also Raith’s club historian and founder and chairman of its former players’ association, was given just six months to live after his diagnosis in early 2014 but enjoyed another two years.

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.

Scottish Championship

No need for Malpas role, says Raith Rovers chief

May 28 2015

Raith chief executive Eric Drysdale has explained why Maurice Malpas left the club last week. The former Dundee United legend joined Rovers six months ago as director of football, helping the previous management team of Grant Murray and Laurie Ellis. However, shortly before new boss Ray McKinnon was appointed, the club issued a statement saying: “Director of Football Maurice Malpas is stepping down from his position. “The board of directors would like to place on record its sincere thanks to Maurice for the advice and support he has given the board, Grant Murray and Laurie Ellis over the last six months.” Drysdale admitted that with McKinnon being an experienced manager, there was no longer a pressing need for a director of football. The chief executive said: “Maurice was only here first of all to support Grant Murray when there was a bit of a difficult period last season and then to help us with the transition after Grant left. “Obviously, Ray has come in and he’s an experienced guy in his own right, so it’s only correct he is given free rein to take the club forward in the direction he wants to go in.” When asked if it was Malpas’s decision to step down, Drysdale admitted: “You can call it mutual consent, if you like. It was just a natural parting of the ways.”