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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...


Missing Allan Bryant: No ‘dead end’ in investigation, say police

November 4 2014

The officer leading the inquiry into missing Glenrothes man Allan Bryant has said that police have not hit a “dead end”. Chief Inspector Nicola Shepherd said lines of inquiry are continuing to be followed up on the first anniversary of Allan’s disappearance. Despite the largest missing person investigation ever undertaken in Fife, no trace of the 24-year-old has been found since he left Styx nightclub in Caskieberran Road a year ago. On Monday, as Police Scotland released enhanced CCTV footage of Alan’s last known movements, Chief Inspector Shepherd underlined the scale of the task facing her officers. Asked if the investigation had ground to a halt, she replied: “We’re definitely not at a dead end. We’re pursuing a number of lines that we can’t speak openly about. “It’s been absolutely massive from day one. I can honestly say that a Fife force would have struggled to take this forward. “The search has been huge from airborne to water searches. Hundreds of statements have been noted and it’s a major, major inquiry.” Police are hoping that the nightclub footage will help to jog memories of those who may have seen Allan on November 3 2013. Although the footage has been released before, it has been enhanced in the hope that it will be shared on social media, a platform which the Bryant family has successfully utilised to publicise the search for their son. The family also displayed a teddy bear made out of articles of Allan’s clothing, an item they poignantly held on to throughout a press conference at police headquarters in Glenrothes. It came just hours after a candlelit vigil at Caskieberran Road, the location of Styx where Allan was last seen. However, Allan’s father, Allan Snr, once again took the opportunity to criticise the earlier police investigation, before stating that he had every faith in the current set-up to establish what has happened to his son. “The police were a joke since day one,” he said. “But now we have new faces. “I believe they have to go back and re-evaluate everyone who has made a statement. The answer is there in the police files.”

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 FC

Take the reins off Scott Allan and watch him thrive for Dundee

November 28 2017

Scott Allan has been backed to make his match-winning assist against Rangers the first of many for Dundee by a former team-mate who described the Dark Blues star as the best footballer he has ever played with. Montrose’s Martyn Fotheringham was blown away by the quality Allan displayed when he started out in senior football on loan from Dundee United at Forfar back in 2010. Then a teenager, Allan only made a handful of appearances at Station Park but he left a lasting impression on those who witnessed them. And Fotheringham believes that if Neil McCann follows the example of Alan Stubbs, the Dundee boss can expect the same end product that the 25-year-old produced in a golden spell at Hibs. “Injury has held him back at the start of his time with Dundee,” said the veteran midfielder. “Alan Stubbs took the reins off and just let him play his game. That’s how you get the best out of him. “Go let him do what he does and don’t put too much emphasis on the other side of the game. “Hopefully he’ll kick on now for Dundee “I believe they have struggled to score goals but Scotty will be able to lay it on a plate for the strikers there.”

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.

Dundee FC

Dundee’s Scott Allan was ‘untouchable’ when he made his Forfar debut

November 28 2017

You don't see two referees and four penalties in a game every other week. But there was one big reason that Martyn Fotheringham will never forget a League One match against Ayr United seven years ago. The “wow” factor, as the veteran midfielder put it, was the debut of Scott Allan. Making his first appearance in senior football as a teenager on loan from Dundee United, the playmaker had all the confidence in the world. And it very quickly became clear to Fotheringham and the rest of the Forfar players at Station Park on that mid-October afternoon, Allan also had the talent to back it up. “It was weird game for a few reasons,” Fotheringham recalled. “The game was delayed because the ref was late turning up. I think there was a stand-in for some of the match before he arrived. “And you don’t usually get four penalties - three for one team. “Scotty missed our second one, I think. I couldn’t tell you if we had to argue over who got the ball for the next one. “Because he was on loan I’m sure he would have been desperate to get his name on the scoresheet and get mentioned on the TV on Soccer Saturday. “He wasn’t short of confidence, let’s put it that way! “Anyway, I’d come on as a sub and I’d been on penalties before that game so when we got the third one I was making sure I took it! “One thing I can’t definitely remember about the game is Scotty’s performance. “I couldn’t have told you it was his debut for us but it was certainly the one where I took notice of him and though ‘wow’. “We scored four goals and won comfortably but it was basically a one-man game. He was that good. I’d never seen anything like it. Nobody could get near him.” Fotheringham added: “There was another game away from home when he came on at half-time. “There must have been four of five boys trying to tackle him at one point but they had no chance. “He’s known for his passing but his dribbling ability was outstanding as well. He could get out of any situation, no matter how tight it was. “From the first training session he was absolutely untouchable. “He was the best player I ever played with and I’ve told everybody that. “Paul Hartley had one of the best attitudes I’ve ever seen in a footballer when I was at St Johnstone and John Paul McBride was another player who had all the talent in the world. “There are a lot of players who I hold in high regard but Scotty was untouchable.” After just a handful of games with Forfar, Allan played virtually the same amount of football on his return to parent club United. There was a bust-up with Peter Houston and a subsequent £300,000 move down south to West Brom. A number of loans in the English lower leagues didn’t work out particularly well until the Scott Allan Fotheringham remembered was making a name for himself again at Easter Road. “My family are all Hibs fans and I said to them that Scotty would be brilliant for them, which he was,” he said. “Then he got his move to Celtic and I was surprised that didn’t work out for him. “I was also surprised that he didn’t get established at West Brom. I thought that by now he’d have a lot of Scotland caps. “That hasn’t happened but there’s still time. He’s certainly got the ability.” Injury has deprived Neil McCann of Allan’s talent for the last couple of months but his impact off the bench on Friday night was game-changing as he threaded an exquisite pass through to Mark O’Hara for a late winner that lifted Dundee off the bottom of the Premiership. And, if that is a sign of things to come, Fotheringham believes the Dark Blues will continue to rise up the table. He said: “His pass to put O’Hara for Dundee’s winner against Rangers is exactly what he does. “He didn’t even need to look. He has peripheral vision to know what’s around him and to open a door with one ball. “Injury has held him back at the start of his time with Dundee. “Alan Stubbs took the reins off and just let him play his game. That’s how you get the best out of him. “Go let him do what he does and don’t put too much emphasis on the other side of the game. “Hopefully he’ll kick on now for Dundee “I believe they have struggled to score goals but Scotty will be able to lay it on a plate for the strikers there.”

Readers' letters

Merely highlighting the union’s failings

January 30 2014

Sir, The Nordic countries have recently come to the fore in the independence debate. The enviable record of prosperity and equality they share with the Alpine and Low countries has become a beacon for those espousing Scottish independence while, predictably, those who oppose it seek to tarnish that record with a selective concentration on income tax rates. While many in the “no” campaign hope that shallow scare story will be enough to neutralise the Nordic influence on the debate, others on the left are not convinced. They see the threat it poses to their assertion that Scotland thrives under the union. So they offer a different argument and claim the surest way for Scots to emulate the Nordic success is to put their faith in the strength of the UK and its ability to deliver it. However, there is a flaw in that assertion. If true, should Scotland not already be there? It’s not as if the union is a new construct that needs time to bed in. It has had many years to deliver prosperity and equality for Scotland. Instead, despite the union and an oil boom, Scotland lags far behind its small, independent neighbours. Indeed, this latest assertion from the “no” campaign merely highlights the failings of the union. Stuart Allan. Flat E, 8 Nelson Street, Dundee. Brits need to buck up their ideas a bit Sir, Up until last week I had been very concerned about the number of immigrants being offered work in this country when so many British people like myself are unemployed. However, I had a major building job to be done in my house last week and I felt very frustrated at the length of time it took and this was mainly because the builders arrived late in the morning, then took a tea break for an hour, had lunch for another 90 minutes and then an hour’s tea break in the afternoon. They also finished early. I do not think British people, particularly in the building trade help themselves gain employment by building this sort of reputation. A friend of mine was having building work done by a group of Polish workers. Although they spoke little English they arrived on time, took very little time off and stayed later. Is there a difference in the work ethic of British builders and their European counterparts? If this is the case then maybe the migrants deserve the work? Gordon Kennedy. 117 Simpson Square, Perth. It just doesn’t add up at all Sir A card was inserted into my copy of The Courier at the weekend that claimed my energy bills would fall if Scotland became a new state. As usual, this huge claim doesn’t specify how that “lower cost of living” would be paid for. Right now, Scotland receives much more energy subsidy than the rest of the UK. Last year, Scotland got almost five times the subsidy for renewable energy than the rest of the UK. The cost of some of those renewable devices is enormous. It’s an expensive policy. It can only be afforded because the UK pays it all. For myself, my renewable subsidy is thirty-eight times the regular price for your domestic electricity. That’s £6 a kilowatt paid to me, compared with the 15.5 pence many readers pay for electricity right now. With a new Scottish Government taking on all the subsidies paid for our renewables, how on earth could that same government afford these very high costs, AND cut our current bills? It just doesn’t add up. Andrew Dundas. 34 Ross Avenue, Perth. Completely bonkers? Sir, I cannot be the only reader who, having read Tuesday’s excellent contribution to your enquiry into fuel poverty, Bishop Nigel Peyton’s article about much the same thing and your article into just how poorly Dundee’s economy is performing, to read that Justine Greening proudly announced we are tripling Britain’s overseas economic aid to £1.8 billion. Has the government, having lost the plot some time ago, gone completely bonkers? Can one get a job lot of straitjackets? Robert Lightband. Clepington Court, Dundee. School run gases worse Sir, The article in Monday’s Courier regarding levels of air pollution in our towns and cities should give us all cause for concern, but I would like to see air samples taken outside our schools when the school run is on. Most of the vehicles used to ferry children to school do very short journeys and the vehicles do not reach operating temperature which means the engines spew out even more poisonous gases. Children and adults have to walk through this daily. It can’t be good for their health. Bob Duncan. 110 Caesar Avenue, Carnoustie. It’s obscene Sir, At last someone is highlighting the cost the royal family inflicts on the British taxpayer. The money lavished out on them is obscene while people are having benefits cut and some are having to choose whether they have food or heat. Alister Rankin. 93 Whyterose Terrace, Methil, Leven. Protecting the wealthy Sir, The condemnation of Ed Balls’ limited and modest proposal to raise the income tax threshold back to 50p for those earning more than £150k has come exclusively from the financial aristocracy. This same group of bankers and speculators (who caused the 2008 crash) have successfully lobbied against any regulation to stop a repeat. Instead the solution to the deficit has been a brutal and inhuman series of cuts to the living standards of working people under the guise of austerity. The UK Government is currently fighting the EU in court to stop legislation which would cap banker bonuses at 100% of their salaries. The reason the Chancellor gave when he reduced the top rate of tax from 50p to 45p was because it only raised revenue of £1 billion per year. This is half of what the bedroom tax is saving the government. The Tories don’t care about working people, they are only interested protecting the lifestyles of the obscenely wealthy. Alan Hinnrichs. 2 Gillespie Terrace, Dundee. No doctors will be involved Sir, As a humanist, I read the article “Staying in control until the last minute” (Courier, January 24), with interest. I am very glad that Dr Buist of Blairgowrie tries to talk his patients out of wanting his help in assisted dying. We, the very few, fewer than two per week out of Scots who die per week, who may want help to die should never ever seek help from a doctor. So, concern for professional medical principles is not necessary. Here in Dundee, a local humanist has developed SCOOP, a scheme whereby far-sighted adult Scots who wish to die stress-free and with dignity, may register this wish officially and when the moment comes as come it must for all of us they will qualify for the help of a compassionate registered facilitator who will supervise their demise in a dignified stress-free manner without any NHS involvement whatsoever. Once SCOOP is legalised this controversy will be resolved and laid to rest forever. Jean Clark. Temperance House, Brechin. They need to be alert as well... Sir, In response to M Clunie, “Need to alert pedestrians” (Letters, January 25), I would ask: “when will pedestrians become more alert to what is going on around them?” I cannot speak for cyclists, but most pedestrian mobility scooter drivers are very aware of their responsibilities towards pedestrians. However, they find that their vigilance is not reciprocated. Too many people wander around with their attention distracted by headphones, mobile phones etc, and seem completely unaware of prams , mobility scooters or others less able than themselves. Mobility scooters do have a beeper but people jump out of their skins and are none too pleased if they are used, so I find it better to quietly wait my turn, put an arm out to prevent someone inadvertently backing into me and warn them I am there if possible. More often than not there is an exchange of apologies and people are very kind and helpful. Mrs M Dumbreck. Mossgiel, Dysart. Gagging law danger Sir, I would like to thank Lindsay Roy, the Labour MP for Glenrothes for supporting the House of Lords’ positive amendments to the Gagging Law. Whilst the overall vote was lost, Lindsay stood up for democracy. The gagging law introduces new rules that would prevent non-politicians from speaking on the big issues of the day. Many charities and campaign groups have spoken out against it. Despite how vocal civil society has been about the issues with this law, the government are trying to rush it through without proper scrutiny. Groups that normally would not agree, have been united in speaking out against this law. Politics is too important to leave to political parties, and in a healthy democracy everyone should be able to express their views. Katrina Allan. 23 The Henge, Glenrothes. Why were they allowed? Sir, It is not only Asda’s sign which offends (Letters, January 21). Aldi in St Andrews has two massive signs, quite unnecessarily. How both were permitted by the council planners is beyond me. Let us hope Cupar’s Aldi is more restrained. John Birkett. 12 Horseleys Park, St Andrews.

Dundee FC

Dundee goalkeeper Scott Bain called up by Scotland for Italy and France friendlies

May 12 2016

Dundee goalkeeper Scott Bain has been named in the Scotland squad for the summer friendlies against Italy and France. Gordon Strachan's men will travel to Malta on May 29 to face the Italians then head to Metz on June 4 to take on the Euro 2016 host nation just before the finals - minus the Scots - take place. Bain was on the bench for Scotland's last two friendlies away to the Czech Republic and at home to Denmark in March but, unfortunately, didn't get on the park. Also selected is Hull's former Dundee United full-back Andrew Robertson. The squad is: Scott Bain, David Marshall, Allan McGregor; Christophe Berra, Grant Hanley, Alan Hutton, Russell Martin, Charlie Mulgrew, Callum Paterson, Andrew Robertson, Lee Wallace; Ikechi Anya, Barry Bannan, Oliver Burke, Darren Fletcher, Shaun Maloney, James McArthur, John McGinn, Barrie McKay, Matt Phillips, Matt Ritchie, Robert Snodgrass; Steven Chris Martin, Ross McCormack, Steven Naismith.


Allan Bryant Sr accepts ‘troll’ apology from BBC

January 30 2016

The father of missing Fife man Allan Bryant Jr has received an apology from the BBC after it broadcast an interview with a man who was jailed for claiming to be Allan’s murderer. Allan Bryant Sr criticised the BBC for broadcasting the Troll Hunters programme on BBC Three on Wednesday which featured serial troll Stewart McInroy who previously claimed to have killed Allan Jr. McInroy was handed a 10-month sentence after posting on the Find Allan Bryant Jr Facebook page, claiming to have abducted him, held him hostage and tortured him. But Mr Bryant Sr was angry that the family had no input into the programme and criticised the BBC. However, the programme’s executive producer has now contacted Mr Bryant Sr to apologise. “They totally understand where we’re coming from as a family and they didn’t realise there would be so much to it than there really was,” Mr Bryant said. “This has caused us no end of grief and heartache since the start of the week. But we have to now move on from this it’s as simple as that.”


Italy 27 Scotland 29: Laidlaw hauls Scots back to narrow win in Rome

March 17 2018

Greig Laidlaw dragged Scotland back from defeat twice in one afternoon in Rome with his last-gasp penalty finally edging the contest against the unlucky Italians. Laidlaw’s kick won the game but it was the assuredness he brought when he moved to stand-off after Finn Russell was concussed that turned what looked like a hopeless situation for Scotland, down 24-12 having been completely outplayed by their hosts. Instead, with a devastating driving maul proving to be their mean weapon of attack, the Scots scratched their way back in the final quarter with Laidlaw putting first Sean Maitland then Stuart Hogg in for tries to bridge the deficit. Even a penalty from man of the match Tommaso Allan – who also had two tries - to put Italy back in front with five minutes left didn’t faze the Scots, who simply drove into position to get the penalty for Laidlaw to win the match. Italy were well worth their half-time advantage with two well-worked tries and probably should have a third right on the break. Scotland couldn’t get a sniff of the ball for the first six minutes, and in contrast Italy were retaining possession well, forcing an offside penalty for Tommaso Allan to kick them ahead. When Scotland did get some possession, however, there was a neat half-break from Nick Grigg, Seymour popped up on the wrong wing to make more ground, and after Russell was held short of the line under the posts Hamish Watson flung a long pass for Fraser Brown to touch down wide on the right. But Scotland gave back the score almost immediately, after a high tackle penalty gave Italy a strong attacking platform in the Scottish 22, Allan’s clever dummy freezing Huw Jones and WP Nel and the stand-off went in untouched, converting himself. And on 21 minutes Allan’s grubber caught the Scottish defensive line flat-footed, full-back Matteo Minozzi nipping through to beat Hamish Watson to the bouncing ball and score. Allan’s conversion took Italy out to 17-5 and the Scoits badly needed a quick riposte, getting it through a lineout that had misfired badly up until that point. Italy didn’t contest one in their own 22 and although the Scots pack took some time to get the maul going, they eventually drove to the line and Barclay spun off to score, Laidlaw converting. More in the game now, Scotland should have taken the lead when Hogg and Jones combined by Sean Maitland couldn’t hold a sharp pass from Laidlaw with the Italian defence breached. Italy came again strongly in the dying moments of the half and had a golden chance with Giulio Bisegni wide open on the right only for Tommaso Castello to try and go himself, the Scots eventually stalling the move. Scotland switched their entire front row for the second half, but Italy retained the initiative and let the Scots off the hook again when it seemed as if Dean Budd had scored but play was called back for a marginal knock on by Bisegni. But Italy were not to be denied and when a fumble in midfield started a counterattack, Jake Polledri shrugged off Ryan Wilson’s tackle and burst through, finding Allan in support to race away for his second and Italy’s third try, converting himself. Things hardly improved for the Scots as Russell went off for a head knock, but the recast backline finally made some ground as the Italians started to concede penalties and began to visibly tire. After two lineout drives didn’t make much ground, Laidlaw’s excellent long pass found Maitland to cut inside and dive over, the veteran’s conversion taking the Scots back to five points back. Scotland then rallied again with another impressive lineout maul that ate up 25 metres to the Italian goal-line, and from there the Scots worked it to put Hogg slicing in for try, Laidlaw converting to take them ahead for the first time. However a sliced touch kick from Hogg and Jonny Gray getting penalised on the deck allowed Italy a penalty chance which Allan landed from 40 metres to restore his side’s lead. The Scots got in position for another strength-sapping maul to force a penalty just inside the 22 with two minutes left, and the ice-cool Laidlaw landed the kick to give the Scots the win. Italy: M Minozzi; T Benvenuti, G Bisegni, T Castello, M Bellini; T Allan, M Violi; A Lovotti, L Ghiraldini, S Ferrari; A Zanni, D Budd; S Negri, J Polledri, S Parisse (capt). Replacements: O Fabiani for Ghiraldini 76, N Quiaglio for Lovotti 59, T Pasquali for Ferrari 60, A Steyn for Zanni 53, G Licata for Polledri 67, G Palazzani for Violi 67, C Canna for Castello 74, J Hayward for Benvenuti 60. Scotland: S Hogg; T Seymour, H Jones, N Grigg, S Maitland; F Russell, G Laidlaw; G Reid, F Brown, W Nel; T Swinson, J Gray; J Barclay (capt), H Watson, R Wilson. Replacements: S McInally for Brown 41, J Bhatti for Reid 41, Z Fagerson for Nel 41, R Gray for Swinson 53, D Denton for Wilson 67, A Price for Russell 55, P Horne for Jones 53. Ref: P Gauzere (FFR)