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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…


Scotland U20s: John Dalziel believes in his history boys

June 11 2016

John Dalziel has faith his history-making Scotland Under-20 side can take the next step and stay on course for an unprecedented semi-final in the World Under-20 Championship by beating England a for a second time in five months. The young Scots had never beaten England at Under-20 level until their historic 24-6 victory at Broadwood in February, and head coach Dalziel’s young squad have followed that up with another first, beating the young Wallabies 15-10 in their opening pool game in the world championships in Manchester. Dalziel has made several changes in his team to face England but most are by design than by force, as he preaches a squad mentality. The losses of Hawick flier Darcy Graham, scorer of the key try against Australia, and centre Rory Hutchison for the remainder of the tournament are significant blows, but the rest of the changes were pre-planned. It was always the intention to rest Glasgow prop Zander Fagerson for the second game and probably also stand-off Adam Hastings, who is out anyway after a head knock, as Dalziel tries to nurse his young squad through a crunched schedule and only four days turnaround from the supreme effort against the Wallabies. “I back this group,” said Dalziel, the former Melrose stalwart. “Yes, we’ve got a couple of injuries now, but I’m confident this is the right team and that these guys will step up to the mark, and they are fresh because we are bringing six or seven guys in. “Some guys who had been starting for us all year found themselves on the bench against Australia for the first time and they are coming back in to take responsibility. We are going to go in there with a bit of impetus.” Some of those returnees were kept back to be fresh for the second game, like Harlequins wing Robbie Nairn. While Fagerson is absent, Dalziel will bring Edinburgh teenager Blair Kinghorn forward to stand-off and Jamie Ritchie, the former Howe of Fife and Strathallan back rower who has also played for the capital club regularly this season, will also play. Ritchie and Kinghorn were held out of much of the Junior Six Nations in controversial fashion but all that’s done is build a squad mentality, adds Dalziel. “We were frustrated by that a little bit, but it’s never really been about personnel,” he said. “In that first game against England we had a great performance, but I thought we were equally good down in Wales (where they lost to a last minute penalty) but we beat ourselves in the end. “Blair has been playing 15 at Edinburgh as part of his development, but he has been a 10 his whole life. He is a very, very accomplished player and he has a great armoury of kicks.” And there is scope for great improvement against England, the coach believes. “We beat Australia for the first time ever, but this team really expects to be competing with those sides,” he said. “I felt we actually made it hard for ourselves at times because there were five or six opportunities against Australia but we didn’t take. “We’ve got to be honest enough to know that we need to play better, especially playing against 14 men for 30 minutes. We need to control things better, but that win has given us a real focus into what we are looking for.” Scotland Under-20 (vs England, World U-20 Championship, Manchester):  Ben Robbins (Currie); Robbie Nairn (Harlequins), Tom Galbraith (Melrose), George Taylor (Melrose), Cameron Gray (Currie); Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby), Hugh Fraser (Heriot’s); Dan Ekington (Melrose), Jake Kerr (Boroughmuir), Callum Sheldon (Leeds Beckett University); Callum Hunter-Hill (Stirling County), Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors, capt); Scott Burnside (Boroughmuir), Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh Rugby), Ally Miller (Melrose). Replacements: Lewis Anderson (Ayr), George Thornton (Bishop Burton College), Murray McCallum (Heriot’s), Andrew Davidson (Newcastle Falcons), Matt Smith (Glasgow Hawks), Charlie Shiel (Currie), Matt McPhillips (Currie), Reuben Norville (Hartpury College).  


Surprise finalists in Boys and Girls Championships at Scotscraig

July 4 2017

Australian exile Josh Greer took out another two Scottish Boys squad players while the shocks at Scotscraig finally hit the Girls Championship at the semi-final stage. Greer will play Airdrie’s Greig Dalziel in the Boys final while favourites Shannon McWilliam and Louise Duncan both lost out at the semi-final stage leaving Jillian Farrell meeting Hannah Darling in the first 36-hole national Girls’ final. But the star of the week at Scotscraig continues to be the 16-year-old Greer, originally from Gourock but now based near Perth in Western Australia, who accounted for another two international squad members in the quarter and semi-finals yesterday. In conditions which made one wonder why they had bothered moving the boys’ championship from April, the slightly-built Joondalup CC member ousted third-ranked Lewis Irvine (Kirkhill) on the second extra hole in the morning. He then won both the first two holes against the last survivor of the national squads, Callum Bruce in the semi-final. Greer’s outstanding short game and his accurate work with his hybrid from the fairway have been a feature of the week, and although he missed the green at the second he chipped in for birdie for a lead he was to hold all afternoon. Four-up at one point, Bruce gradually hauiled him in to get back to one down playing the 17th, but a three-putt there meant Greer’s par four was enough to secure the final place. “Conditions were a lot tougher today but I’ve got accustomed to the cold again,” said Greer. “The wind got up a little this afternoon which made things trickier. “It’s been better this week than I had hoped to do but having come so far obviously I want to win the title now.” Dalziel finally ended the run of five handicapper Jamie Marchbank in the quarter-finals although he also needed two extra holes, and he seemed to have lost control of his semi-final against Lochgelly’s Dean Walsh around the turn. Walsh won the Fife County Boy;’s title around Scotscraig last year and he answered every move made by his opponent only to falter on the final two holes. One-up playing 17, he made his first real mistake of the afternoon by bunkering his tee shot and then tried to take too much from the bunker and ended up taking a six. Up the last both drove left into heavy rough but Walsh’s composure deserted him and Dalziel’s cautious five was good enough to win the match and the place in the final. In the girls championship semi-finals favourite Shannon McWilliam never had her best game against the consistent Jillian Farrell, and the senior women’s internationalist fell at the 17th. Farrell will play Darling, who was always in charge of her semi against the top seeded Duncan. Boys Championship Quarter-finals: G Dalziel (Airdrie) bt J Marchbank (Dumfries & Galloway) at the 20th; D Walsh (Lochgelly) bt L Gillies (Nairn) at the 20th; J Greer (Joondalup) bt L Irvine (Kirkhill) at the 20th; C Bruce (Dugg House Royal) bt N McCulloch (Kingsknowe) 4 and 2. Semi -Finals: Dalziel bt Walsh 1 hole, Greer bt Bruce 2 and 1. Girls Championship Semi-Finals: H Darling (Broomieknowe) bt L Duncan (West Kilbride) 2 and 1; J Farrell (Cardross) bt S McWilliam (Aboyne) 2 and 1.


Taxpayers’ cash used to ‘supplement’ former fire chief’s pension

January 31 2014

A former chief fire officer had his wages topped up with a 10% “supplement” of taxpayers’ money to cover pension contributions, official documents have revealed. David Dalziel was given the extra cash for more than two years in an arrangement branded “appalling” by the Fire Brigades Union. The Courier can reveal the information following Mr Dalziel’s unsuccessful tribunal claim for unfair dismissal against the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. Tayside’s Alasdair Hay secured the top job at the new single service but Mr Dalziel claimed he missed out on a string of senior posts because of his age. Documents released under Freedom of Information confirm an agreement was made for the 62-year-old to receive extra money as he could no longer gain further benefit from paying into his personal pension pot, although he continued to qualify for insurance. FBU Scottish secretary John Duffy said: “The FBU find it appalling that someone who manipulated their own salary to cover their pension costs, retired with a significant lump sum and then manoeuvred themself back into a rollingre-employment should be so driven by greed as to take this action. “This type of individual is unsuitable for a role in any publicly-funded service. ” A spokesman for Mr Dalziel said the information was “inaccurate”. He added: “The process in question was approved by internal audit and was done at the board’s request and not at the request of Mr Dalziel. “It was accepted by Audit Scotland as transparent and wholly in accord with Scottish public pension policy.”

Angus & The Mearns

East coast witnesses show of military might

April 11 2013

The east coast is to bear witness to one of the largest tactical military training exercises Europe has seen. More than 40 warships from the UK and its European allies, along with 30 fixed-wing aircraft and 30 helicopters, will storm the east coast in a massive training exercise starting on Friday morning. Royal Marines from 42 Commando will also storm the beach at Barry Buddon via helicopter to simulate landing on the shores of a hostile nation. The exercise, codenamed Joint Warrior, will kick off at 10am and will aim to put Nato’s Response Force Task Group to the test through a series of manoeuvres across the east and west coast of Scotland over the next three weeks. Commander of the UK Task Group, Commodore Paddy McAlpine, said: “During Joint Warrior we will practise fighting at sea as well as fighting from the sea. “We’ll practise against a demanding air, surface and submarine threat, entering a hostile environment and then deliver our landing force of Royal and Dutch marines to the right area. “Exercises such as Joint Warrior provide us with the scale, diversity and pace that we need to maintain our capability as the naval contingency element of the response force task group.” The Courier has been granted special access to join the operation. Look out for Martin Dalziel’s report in Saturday’s paper.

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.

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


Airport staff thought former footballer’s aftershave was the bomb

September 11 2015

Former Rangers and Raith Rovers striker Gordon Dalziel has revealed how he sparked an airport security alert all because of his aftershave. The 53-year-old, who now helps present a football show on radio station Clyde 1, was given a ticking off by staff at Glasgow Airport when scanners picked up an object shaped like a grenade in his hand luggage before boarding a flight to Gatwick. However, it turned out to be a bottle of Viktor and Rolf’s aptly-named aftershave Spicebomb, and Dalziel was allowed to go through the rest of the security process albeit with a warning from angry staff. “It’s fair to say they weren’t best pleased,” the ex-Raith boss said. “I foolishly bought it without thinking how they might react to the shape. When they were all staring at my bag, I had no idea why. “There were shocked looks from passengers too as they took out the bottle. “I asked for it back so I could smell my best on the other side of security but they didn’t see the funny side.” It is understood several passengers have been stopped at security at both Edinburgh and Glasgow because of the distinctive packaging, and Dalziel was warned to be more careful next time. “The staff were very professional and quite serious about it all,” he said. “They said the bottle could have been seized. It made for light entertainment though!” Dalziel began his football career at Rangers in 1979 and had spells at Manchester City, Partick Thistle, and East Stirling before making a name for himself in Kirkcaldy with Raith Rovers. He spent eight years at Stark’s Park, scoring 170 goals in the process, before moving on to Ayr United and then going into management. Fan favourite Dalziel returned to Raith as manager in 2004 but left in 2006.

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.