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SFL chief executive’s league reconstruction plan criticised

March 14 2013

Scottish Football League (SFL) chief executive David Longmuir has argued getting reconstruction right is more important than ensuring it is in place for next season as he defended his Old Firm colt teams proposal. Falkirk chairman Martin Ritchie accused Longmuir of being “irresponsible” by putting the plan forward on Tuesday one day after Scottish Premier League (SPL) clubs set an April 15 date for their vote on plans for a merged league. The SPL plan would see a 12-12-18 structure, with the top two divisions splitting into three groups of eight after 22 games, but Longmuir’s interjection raises the possibility of Rangers and Celtic reserve teams making it a 12-12-10-10 system. Longmuir had argued Scottish football needed to safeguard itself for the possibility of the Glasgow teams moving elsewhere, and he responded to criticism of his idea, pointing out it was included in former First Minister Henry McLeish’s review of Scottish football. Longmuir said: “It may well be the case that league reconstruction won’t happen before next season, but it is clear we have to get this right. “Everyone has their own agenda. I am looking at this objectively and now is the time to put ideas forward.” He continued: “We have to be very clear on what’s right for the SFL and also for the whole of the Scottish game. “I have to look at how we bring the fans back. With that, I am looking at all aspects of improving our game.” Raith Rovers chairman Turnbull Hutton said: “I think it’s bizarre that we’re worrying about what happens when Rangers and Celtic depart the Scottish scene, but they’ve been going to depart the Scottish scene for the last decade. “Where are they going to go? It’s a nonsense, frankly.” Hutton believes Longmuir’s plan might have been devised to appease Rangers, who are unhappy they would still be in the bottom tier if an 18-team system comes in. Hutton said: “It’s a simple solution because there’s pressure on the need for this two leagues of 10 at the bottom, where the proposal for the 12-12-18 was perfectly fine and it played to what supporters wanted in the third tier with home and away matches. “But suddenly, someone wants to win a championship and move through and they would need two teams.”

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...


SPFL confirms David Longmuir’s exit

July 11 2013

The Scottish Professional Football League has confirmed that David Longmuir’s employment has come to an end after he failed to land the role of chief executive. Longmuir and Neil Doncaster chief executives of the Scottish Football League and the Scottish Premier League respectively were the only two candidates in the running for the job with the newly-created organisation. Doncaster was last week appointed to the role following the merger of Scotland’s two professional leagues. An SPFL statement read: “The SPFL can confirm that following the decision to appoint Neil Doncaster to the role of CEO in the SPFL, David Longmuir’s employment has come to an end.” The new SPFL was finally ratified by Scottish football’s 42 senior clubs last month.

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.


Award-winning Tayside song writer Eddie Cairney immortalises Queensferry Crossing in tune

October 25 2017

An award-winning Tayside song writer who immortalised the 50th anniversary of the Tay Road Bridge in music last year has released an EP which pays tribute to the newly opened Queensferry Crossing over the Forth. Perth-born Eddie Cairney, 65, who now lives in Arbroath, has released an album called ‘Sketches o' the QC’ which includes songs dedicated to the “isolated” workers who were employed during construction and contrasts the old Forth Road Bridge to the new crossing with its wind shields designed to keep traffic flowing during storms. Eddie, who delayed the release of the album due to family illness and bereavement, said: “It's just another quirky album like I did for the Tay Road Bridge. https://youtu.be/Z6BblA_Zev4 “As you can probably imagine, how do you write six songs about a bridge? “I usually end up using a process of creative journalism. I get a few facts or even just a single fact and then I let my imagination take over. “With each album early on in the writing process I draw a blank and think there's nothing here I can write about but there's always something to write about. “You just have to hang around long enough and it comes eventually. https://youtu.be/a9NyQAFjDsY “I just took threads from here and there. I was going to call the album The Queensferry Crossing but thought that was a bit boring so I went for Sketches o' the Q.C. “It introduces a bit of ambiguity. If you Google the name you get lots of drawings of court scenes!” Eddie was inspired to write Columba Cannon after reading an article about the general foreman for the foundations and towers. https://youtu.be/y_y1y8oV7vo Eddie said: “It was the name that got me and that gave me the first line of the song "He is a bridge builder wi a missionary zeal" Has to be with a name like Columba!” Fishnet bridge was set in a meditative light, describing the bridge as a “thing of beauty that looks like a big fish net glistening high above the Forth but it is a symbolic fishnet with the song taking the form of an imaginary conversation with the bridge.” https://youtu.be/dJgsl2WQ5G0   “Midday starvation came from an article which highlighted the isolation of the workers working high up on the bridge,” he added. https://youtu.be/Dme-bfCXHRI “If you forget your piece you've had it and you starve for there's no nipping round to the corner shop for a pie. The article also said that a local pizza delivery firm regularly delivered a pallet load of warm pizzas to the bridge so that was "midday salvation"! Meanwhile, The boys frae the cheese is a play on words. https://youtu.be/phtQ2-Xx1I0 He added: “I read an article that said The Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA) could have acted sooner and avoided the costly closure of the bridge at the end of 2015.” Eddie is no stranger to music and song influenced by Dundee and wider Scottish history. In 2015 he featured in The Courier for his efforts to put the complete works of Robert Burns to music. With a piano style influenced by Albert Ammons, Champion Jack Dupree and Memphis Slim, and a song-writing style influenced by Matt McGinn, Michael Marra and Randy Newman, the former Perth High School pupil, who wrote the 1984 New Zealand Olympic anthem, has organised a number of projects over the years including the McGonagall Centenary Festival  for Dundee City Council in 2002. Last year’s Tay Road Bridge album included a tribute to 19th century poet William Topas McGonagall and also honoured Hugh Pincott – the first member of the public to cross the Tay Road Bridge in 1966. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y51tixl9GEs Thanks to The Courier, he also became one of the first to cross the Queensferry Crossing  when it opened to the public in the early hours of August 30.


Former SFL chief David Longmuir’s bonuses queried

August 15 2013

Angry clubs are preparing to pursue former Scottish League chief executive David Longmuir through the courts in order to claw back the secret bonuses he collected during his six years at Hampden. One of the reasons the merger between the SPL and the SFL was delayed last month was that Longmuir was due to receive a £100,000 bonus. When SPL representatives refused to cough up, it was agreed that the payment would be met from SFL funds but the bombshell effectively ended any hopes Longmuir had of beating Neil Doncaster for the new SPFL chief executive role although it is understood he received a £200,000 severance payment. However, when 37 of the 42 SPFL clubs met at Hampden on Monday it emerged Longmuir had received £360,000 in bonuses, allegedly for bringing fresh sponsorship to the SFL. Since most of the cash received came from the SPL’s TV deal the SFL received a £1 million payment from the top tier in order to give broadcasters the right to screen Rangers’ games in the Third Division the feeling at the meeting was that Longmuir had not justified his bonuses. As a result, the SPFL board will now attempt to discover whether a proper process had been followed with regard to the payments. The matter is now being investigated by the SPFL. Longmuir was unavailable for comment.

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


SFL clubs to decide new Rangers’ Friday the 13th fate

July 6 2012

Scottish football's D-Day will be Friday the 13th. After a long, drawn-out saga of what to do with Rangers, the ball has landed at the feet of the Scottish Football League to decide which division the new Ibrox club will be playing their football in next season the First or the Third. SFL chief executive David Longmuir announced on Thursday that all the lower-league clubs will meet at Hampden a week today to come up with a way forward for the fast-approaching new campaign. Only after that will Dundee and Dunfermline also know what league they will be in, as Longmuir's opposite number at the SPL, Neil Doncaster, has insisted they will not confirm the identity of Club 12 until that point. In the wake of an SFL board meeting, Longmuir said: ''A specially convened meeting of all clubs is planned for next Friday.'' Longmuir called for the 30 clubs to be given time and space to make their decision after some claimed they had been ''bullied'' into accepting the newco club in the Irn-Bru First Division. SFA chief executive Stewart Regan has claimed the game faces a ''slow, lingering death'' if the Ibrox club have to restart in the Third the Rangers fans' preferred option. Regan claimed SPL clubs, who rejected the new company's top-flight application on Wednesday, stand to lose £15.7 million if that is the case. Longmuir stated: ''The time has come for all outside influences and pressures to stop. So I ask all other bodies to leave it to those who have been put in this invidious position to make a decision in the best possible interests of the game. ''I have every faith in the judgment of those clubs and their boards to make a decision, considered and reasoned, which will be in the best interests of the game how it's structured, how it's governed and how it's financed.'' Longmuir added: ''Our colleagues in the SPL as well are keen to ensure we do something that's going to take the game forward. ''Our job over the next week or so is to consult with colleagues in both SPL and SFA to make sure that what we're about to do is for the benefit and interests of the game.'' Regan stated the SFA could not allow the new Rangers to enter the Third Division, given the financial consequences, but Longmuir insisted SFL clubs will have a say. Longmuir said: ''The SFL clubs clearly have choices, but what we plan to do is make the choices very, very clear to them. We will do this by giving them the right information and to work over the next week to pull together the plan that's going to take the game forward through this mini-crisis and put us on a better place so this time next year we're looking forward to getting the ball back on the pitch and playing football. "Technically, the SFA, as governing body, have the power to influence just about every decision taken in the game, but I believe with proper collaboration we can get everybody onside with this.'' Longmuir said the first question put to the 30 clubs will be: ''Are the SFL in a position to accommodate Rangers into the Scottish Football League?'' But he did not clarify the follow-up questions or details of the voting structures they will use. He said: ''It will be a straightforward majority for the first question. That fundamental question we're going to ask will be supplemented by further resolutions that we would have to implement to change our rules, which have different voting requirements. ''Some require two-thirds, some require straightforward majorities. That will be made clear to clubs before next week.''Pars chief rejects Regan's claimsDunfermline Athletic chairman John Yorkston does not buy into Regan's ''slow and lingering death'' analysis. Yorkston believes Regan's comments will not change the minds of many SFL chairmen. ''That's his view and not everybody sees it like that,'' he said. ''A lot of folk are very strong on the integrity angle of things. It will mean more money out of the game certainly, but every cloud has a silver lining. ''If we don't have the money to bring in these foreign players, then we'll have to develop our own young ones. That might be good for the game in Scotland all these young Scottish players getting regular games. ''I think the tone at the meeting on Tuesday, at the start of the meeting, was for Rangers to go to the Third Division. I think one or two folk, when they realised the financial implications, said they would have to go back to their boards and then take guidance, but I still think the overwhelming majority will vote Rangers into the Third Division.'' The last thing Yorkston wants is for SFL clubs to defer their ruling further. ''I think we've got to make a decision next week,'' he added.'' We need to know what division we're in. We need to know where we are, what teams we're playing and we need to get on with it.'' Photo by Danny Lawson/PA Wire

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.