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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...

St Johnstone

St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright thinks Lee McCulloch is a wise choice

February 23 2017

The change of Lees in the Kilmarnock dug-out won’t make Kilmarnock weaker opposition for St Johnstone on Saturday, Tommy Wright insisted. Wright and Lee Clark go back a long way but the Perth boss was as surprised as anybody when he heard that his former Newcastle United team-mate was heading to Bury. But, having watched Killie play Aberdeen on Sunday and lose narrowly, he is convinced that Lee McCulloch will be a shrewd in-house appointment as Clark’s successor. “It came out of the blue,” said Wright. “But Lee had worked in England and the draw was always going to be there for him. “He has been good for Kilmarnock and the club has been good for Lee. “His time here has got him back on track in terms of his managerial career. He has got a move on the back of what he has done in Scotland.” Wright added: “I was at their game with Aberdeen on Sunday. They worked extremely hard and probably should have seen the game out when they were one ahead, even though Aberdeen had created more chances. “But errors cost them the points. “It will be another difficult game for us. Lee (McCulloch) has enough experience to deal with it in the short term and long term if he wants the job. “Everything is still so tight below us. They had a chance to go sixth on their own just nine points behind us. But they finished up losing the game and they’re only four points above Hamilton in the play-off spot. “I would imagine Kilmarnock will want to appoint a manager quickly. Lee is in the best position. He knows the club, he knows the players. “He has been a great player and he is probably ready for it now. He will want to put his own stamp on it and if you are looking for a smooth transition after Lee Clark’s departure I’d say Lee McCulloch is the man best suited to the job.”

Scottish Championship

Rangers 3 Dunfermline 1: Young Pars will learn from defeat says Jim Jefferies

November 7 2013

Dunfermline boss Jim Jefferies insists he is immensely proud of his side despite last night’s 3-1 League One defeat against Rangers at Ibrox. The young Pars went toe to toe throughout with the unbeaten league leaders but their brave resistance was finally broken in the 70th minute through a Lee McCulloch penalty. It was a real double whammy for the Pars with Jordan Moore being sent for an early bath following the incident that led to the award of the spot-kick. Rangers increased their lead with Jon Daly’s 15th goal of the season before Dunfermline pulled one back through Josh Falkingham. However, Bilel Mohsni hit the home side’s third in stoppage time to secure all three points. Jefferies said: “I felt the penalty was a very soft award. A young boy who is 20 years old throwing Lee McCulloch about . . . I don’t believe it. “So that was a big blow for us. This was the first time a lot of the lads had been inside the stadium let alone played in it. “I am proud of every one of them. They are a young, young team and we have no experienced players at this level at all.” Jefferies added: “They gave a good account of themselves but we just didn’t get the breaks.They will learn from that.”

Dundee FC

Dundee boss Neil McCann questions Kilmarnock’s goal

September 24 2017

Dundee manager Neil McCann felt his side lacked a spark in their 1-1 draw at Kilmarnock. But he questioned whether Gordon Greer's equaliser should have stood and whether Killie midfielder Calum Waters should have received more than a yellow card for a 60th-minute foul on Jack Hendry. The Scotland defender’s effort cancelled out an early strike by Faissal El Bakhtaoui. McCann said: "I thought Kris Boyd was all over the top of Cammy Kerr. “Cammy was leaning back and clearly it's a bit of a mismatch, but I thought his arms were up. "There was a goal chalked off last week with Steven Anderson for virtually the same thing where he was climbing above Darren O'Dea, and I felt there was a case there for a foul." On Waters' challenge, McCann said: "For me, it was like a car crash. He was going in at such a speed. I know you can say he mistimed it, but there was a clear split second when he knocked it past him and then the impact. It could have been a real serious one." Kilmarnock boss Lee McCulloch said: "I thought over the course of the game we were the better team, again just an individual mistake at the start of the match, which happens. If we want to try and play a certain way, these mistakes are going to happen. "The biggest thing is how we react to it and we showed great character to react to the mistake.”

Dundee

Neighbours resigned to axe killer Thomas McCulloch living in Dundee flats

May 9 2013

There was no answer at the home of Thomas McCulloch’s partner when The Courier called. The triple axe murderer was seen going into Susan Perrie’s building on Tuesday afternoon, just hours after he had been released from Castle Huntly open prison. It is understood McCulloch, who murdered three men during a break-out from Carstairs State Hospital with Dundee killer Robert Mone in 1976, may now settle in Dundee. Neighbours greeted the news of his release with mixed reactions. One man said: “I’m fine with him being here so long as he doesn’t come near this door. He should never have been let out. I don’t think you change. He’s obviously sick in the head.” Another neighbour said: “He was getting home visits a while ago so the word went up and down the closie he was here. I was glad to see him on the news so I know what I’m looking out for.” She said youths had been caught throwing things at the windows of the building when he was first released. “That was something to do with him but it (the murders) was a long time ago. He’s an old man now.” One resident was resigned to the fact that McCulloch may now have joined the community. “What can you do about it?” he said. “The guy’s got to get out sometime.” Other neighbours who are friendly with Ms Perrie did not wish to comment. McCulloch’s release on Tuesday ended 43 years behind bars. He was first admitted to Carstairs after he tried to kill a chef and hotel manageress in a row over a sandwich. When he and Mone broke out of the secure unit, they slaughtered hospital worker Neil McLellan and patient Iain Simpson before going on to kill PC George Taylor. McCulloch was released from Castle Huntly early on Tuesday morning and Ms Perrie was seen going in and out of her building throughout the day before his arrival.

Scotland

Murderer Robert Mone reveals horror of Carstairs escape killing spree

October 5 2015

Killer Robert Mone has spoken for the first time about the horrifying Carstairs breakout that saw three people slaughtered. Along with fellow patient Thomas McCulloch, Mone escaped from the state hospital in a murderous rampage which left nurse Neil McLellan, 46, patient Iain Simpson, 40, and policeman George Taylor, 27, dead. Since then Dundee-born Mone, now 67, has become Scotland’s longest serving prisoner. In a series of letters to be published in a new book, Carstairs: Hospital For Horrors, Mone relives the “terrifying night” of November 30 1976, describing it as a “nightmare of shattered dreams and grotesque, maniacal butchery”. His account of the night differs from the findings of an official inquiry headed up by Sherriff Reid in 1977. In the letters, Mone paints himself as an unwilling participant instead of one of two sick protagonists, which Sheriff Reid found. Mone and McCulloch would spend hours together in prison making soft toys. The pair also spent time at the hospital’s drama department and Mone edited the official magazine. It was these resources they exploited in their escape. Mone and McCulloch spent six months amassing a deadly array of weapons, using the cover of building “props” for a Christmas drama production, to make good their escape. Nazi-obsessed McCulloch made a rope ladder from stolen material and hid it in a loudspeaker. He also amassed garottes made from violin strings, fake wooden pistols, an axe and three knives which he decorated with SS symbols. Mone, meanwhile, used his job on the hospital’s in-house magazine to manufacture fake identity cards. He also plundered the drama department for disguises including false moustaches and nurse outfits. “All of the equipment was made or stolen under the very noses of the staff who were supposed to be ultra vigilant,” says Mone. Nurse Neil McLellan was escorting the pair to work within the confines of the secure hospital when they put their plan into action. Also present was fellow patient, Iain Simpson. McCulloch was carrying a box containing the rope ladder and weapons which everyone assumed contained props for their production of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice And Men. “Ahead I could hear McCulloch chatting unconcernedly with Neil. Within the hour he would hack Neil to death and leave him in a pool of blood,” Mone says. Mone first sprayed paint thinner in the unsuspecting nurse’s face to disable him. He claims Mr McLellan was “transfixed” his eyes “bulging in terror” at the terrifying spectacle of McCulloch repeatedly hitting Simpson with an axe behind them. After a violent struggle, in which Mone was injured by Simpson, he and Mr McLellan were killed by McCulloch. The pair used the rope ladder to scale the perimeter fence and, making for the road, Mone lay down pretending to be a victim of an accident to stop a passing car. It just so happened a police car on a routine patrol also ground to a halt. “As one officer approached me, I saw McCulloch suddenly attack the second officer with a dagger or a truncheon,” says Mone, who brandished an axe at PC Taylor, a father-of-six, as a “warning”. “PC Taylor did not hesitate and ignored the warning, immediately launching himself at me. With his superior size and strength, he literally swung me about like a rag doll.” PC John Gillies was seriously injured but managed to escape. PC Taylor would die from stab wounds. Mone and McCulloch stole the police car and raced away, with Mone making false radio reports to throw other officers off their scent. McCulloch lost control on the icy roads, crashing into a ditch. Covered in blood and soaking wet, the terrifying pair then stopped a van carrying workmen Jack McAlroy and William Lennon. Mone stabbed Mr Lennon in a fit of anger, one of the few events he claims he now regrets. “I have only fragments of memory of the confrontation but recollect screaming at him to ‘stay down’ as he tried to rise,” he says. They went on to target a “random” remote farmhouse, where they terrorised a young family. Fearing police were hot on their heels, they left the family unhurt, only taking their car to England. Mone claimed as they sped south, he contemplated “opening the car” and throwing himself out, fearing McCulloch could turn on him. After crashing into a roundabout on the outskirts of Carlisle, they abandoned their getaway vehicle before attempting to hijack a fourth car but were caught by police. “Almost with a sense of relief I felt hands grasp my arm and I was pulled from the front passenger seat,” Mone states. He claims he was told McCulloch, now 67, had planned one final murder that night. “According to what I was told, official records revealed McCulloch planned to murder me as soon as he had evaded the police pursuit,” he says. Following their escape, the pair were deemed such a risk to national security they were given full life terms in jail. That decision was reversed in 2002, which eventually led to McCulloch being released in 2013. However, Mone still languishes in Glenochil prison.

St Johnstone

St Johnstone ready to overcome adversity

February 25 2017

Richard Foster is confident that neither Storm Doris, a lengthy injury list nor an underwhelming home record will prevent St Johnstone from beating Kilmarnock at McDiarmid Park this afternoon. The Perth side’s preparations were disrupted when the Thursday morning snow wiped out their training session at Stirling University. Having five experienced players sidelined through injury and suspension isn’t ideal either. And Saints would no doubt prefer that there wasn’t such a marked difference between their away results in the league and their home ones. But Foster is optimistic that they can overcome a bit of adversity and further strengthen their top six credentials against Killie today. He said: “What happened with the weather on Thursday won’t affect us too much because the manager always works on set pieces and stuff on Fridays anyway. “We maybe would have done a bit of shape work on Thursday but the lads all know their jobs so it won’t hinder us too much. “The roads were closed getting to Stirling and the boys based in Perth said it was the same going the other way so there wasn’t much could be done about it. “But missing one day of training shouldn’t be a problem.” The former Aberdeen, Rangers and Ross County man added: “We were really happy with the win up at Ross County last weekend because we played well. “The strike from Kano to win it was a great one and that added to the drama of it. “But over the 90 minutes we would have been really disappointed if we hadn’t won given the way we played. “Ross County battled well to stay in the game but we managed to win it in the end and that says a lot about our team too. “We just want to translate the kind of performances we’ve been having away from home to the ones at home. “It has made us scratch our head a bit because we can’t figure it out. “There have been games where we’ve dropped points at home when we should have won, which is frustrating. “But this weekend is a new game. We’ll be up for it, organised and hopefully get the three points. “There are a few boys missing but we have a good squad and it might be a chance for other lads to come in and do well. “The competition is good, everyone knows there’s someone else there waiting to take your place in the team and that spurs you on.” Foster and caretaker Killie boss Lee McCulloch were team-mates at Ibrox and the full-back feels that the Rugby Park directors have gone to the right man after the unexpected departure of Lee Clark. “He is someone you always thought would be a manager one day but even he probably didn’t think it would happen this quickly,” Foster said. “Sometimes you don’t get to choose when you become a manager, sometimes it just happens that way and it comes to you. “He probably thought Lee Clark would be there for the long haul so he was maybe thinking it would be a couple of years before he went into becoming a manager himself. “But that’s football, he’s been given the opportunity and I’m sure if he does well in the games he’s got then Killie will think about him for the job. “Lee has that sort of aura about him, he gets his message across well and he’ll get the players playing for him. “He won’t be fazed by it, that’s for sure, because he’s played at some really big clubs and at the top level. “Obviously it’s different as a manager, completely different I’d imagine, but I’m sure he’ll take to it like a duck to water. “Apart from Saturday I hope he does well.” Foster was impressed by the Killie performance against Aberdeen last Sunday. He said: “I watched the game and they were unlucky. “They didn’t create loads of chances but they more than matched Aberdeen for most of the game. “If they’d got a draw it probably would have been a fair result but they lost two late goals and that was a sickener for them. “But Lee will have them raised again from it, he will be telling them to take plenty positives from the way they played. “Aberdeen are sitting in second place and Killie were firmly in the game until right at the end, so that shows they’re a decent side." Liam Craig is banned, while Graham Cummins, Murray Davidson, Keith Watson and Danny Swanson are injured.

Politics

Scottish Government says Thomas McCulloch release ‘a matter for Europe’

May 10 2013

Triple axe murderer Thomas McCulloch’s release on to the streets of Dundee was down to European lawyers, the Scottish Government has claimed. First Minister Alex Salmond dodged the question of whole life sentences when challenged by Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson at Holyrood. McCulloch, who was handed Scotland’s first “whole life sentence” after a murderous rampage with Robert Mone from Dundee, had his sentence altered to a fixed term punishment of 30 years after a 2002 appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. Last year, the ECHR upheld the principle of whole life sentences for the most dangerous offenders, saying it does not breach human rights, and there are currently more than 40 people in England and Wales who have been told they will die behind bars. Scottish Government officials claimed courts have the power to hand out sentences condemning the most serious criminals to spend “the remainder of their natural life” in prison. When challenged by The Courier over why ministers did not take the same actions as their Westminster counterparts to ensure 65-year-old McCulloch was not allowed out into the community, a spokesman for the Scottish Government said the fixed term appeal had been “a matter for Europe”. He added the diagnosed psychopath’s release earlier this week was down to the parole board, which politicians have no influence over. Scottish Government sources have made it known they are unhappy with McCulloch’s release, but stressed they were unable to do anything about the decision. Ms Davidson has now written to Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill calling for urgent talks to introduce legislation similar to England and Wales. During First Minister’s Questions, Ms Davidson said: “It’s simple: life should mean life. Will the First Minister give an assurance... that he will finally take action to give the public the protection they deserve? “Will he ensure that in the most extreme cases, when the most violent criminals are taken off the streets, they will never return?” Mr Salmond replied by saying laws passed by a Conservative Government mean ministers cannot interfere with parole board decisions but both he and Mr MacAskill were “perfectly willing and able to consider suggestions that come forward in a constructive sense”. McCulloch murdered hospital worker Neil McLellan, patient Iain Simpson and police officer George Taylor during the 1976 break-out. He was seen going into partner Susan Perrie’s home in Dundee after his release from Castle Huntly.

Scottish Premiership

Lee McCulloch asks Kilmarnock fans to play their part

April 21 2016

Kilmarnock assistant manager Lee McCulloch has issued a rallying cry to the club’s supporters as the Rugby Park side prepare for five crucial matches in their bid to avoid a dreaded relegation play-off clash. The Ayrshire outfit kick off their Premiership post-split fixtures in Sunday’s televised showdown at Inverness and will attempt to close the four-point gap on 10th place Hamilton. Lee Clark’s team, who are eight points clear of bottom club Dundee United, enhanced their chances of avoiding a relegation decider with a 3-0 victory over St Johnstone in their last outing. And former Rangers player McCulloch insists the fans can play their part in guiding Killie to safety. He said: “Get behind us. The away fans have been superb and we need everybody in the community to come along and support the boys and give everything positive. “We’re a young squad so they need encouragement – that’s the thing they definitely need is lots and lots of encouragement. “It’s two away games to begin with (against Inverness and Hamilton) and you always try to take the positive from it. “Hopefully we can pick up some points in those games and then we’ll have the three games left, with two of them at home, so we have to take the positive and look at it as an opportunity for us.”

Football

Rangers 5 East Fife 0: Bad start paves way for Ibrox rout

September 2 2013

A tough task for East Fife became even more difficult as they fell behind after little more than 20 seconds at Ibrox. Nicky Clark opened the floodgates for Ally McCoist’s side who would net further through a Lee McCulloch hat-trick and a stunning Lewis McLeod strike. Fifers boss Willie Aitchison said the early goal was a sickener. He said: “They score and suddenly 45,000 people are up for that, and that’s the problem. “The plan is to stay composed and keep them quiet and get on to our own game plan, but we waited until the second goal went in for us to start playing a bit. “We went through a period in the first half just before they got the third when our football was good. “I said to them at half-time that we were comfortable on the ball, but if we’re going to make mistakes we need to make then up the park and not in front of our goal.” The supporters inside Ibrox had barely taken their seats when Clark slammed home the opener for the Gers. East Fife pressed forward themselves, and Liam Buchanan was out of luck when he found himself one on one with the goalkeeper, only for Sebastien Faure to get back and clear. Rangers always looked dangerous going forward and McCulloch got the first of his hat-trick when he headed home a Lee Wallace cross. To be fair to Aitchison’s side, they refused to panic and went on to have their best spell of the game. Buchanan again found space to fire in a strike which was held before Cedric Tuta should have netted but he failed to connect with a cross from six yards. They were made to pay for their profligacy when McCulloch showed them how it’s done by heading his second. East Fife gave a debut to former Hearts right back Robbie Neilson, and his failed clearance fell kindly for McLeod who volleyed home a stunning fourth for the home side. The rout was completed when McCulloch wrapped up the win with another header, this time from a Kyle McAusland cross. East Fife pressed for a consolation but Neilson’s late drive sailed over the bar.

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