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...
Steven Anderson’s plane seat is empty as St Johnstone fly out to Switzerland. The long-serving central defender and Scottish Cup goal hero has had to admit defeat in his fitness battle. His hamstring injury has gotten the better of him and he will stay at home, as will Gary McDonald. Stevie May will make the journey but the chances of him featuring appear to be very slim indeed. Manager Tommy Wright said: “Ando is out and won’t be with us. Stevie will travel and we will give him right up till the final whistle to see how he is but he is a doubt.” Wright, meanwhile, pinpointed midfielder Alain Wiss as the man who poses the biggest threat to his team in the Swissporarena. He said: “Wiss is a box-to-box player who has a knack of scoring goals so he will have to be watched closely. “Overall, they are a team that likes to press high up the park but I feel we can use the experience we have gained in Europe to our advantage.”
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
St Johnstone survived two woodwork strikes from former Scotland striker Kris Boyd to secure a hard-fought point at Rugby Park. Saints looking for a cure for their European hangover following their heart-breaking Europa League exit at the hands of the very ordinary FC Minsk were always in this game. They should have had a spot kick when Steven Anderson’s jersey was pulled by Boyd but they also had first post then bar to thank for keeping him and Killie out in the second half. As a result of this decent draw at a tough venue, Tommy Wright’s men sit in joint-third spot after two matches of the new Premiership. Given what they had gone through as a club over 120 minutes on Thursday night against the Belarussians, it was not surprising that Wright chose to freshen up his starting line-up. In came Gwion Edwards, Chris Millar, Brian Easton, Rory Fallon and Murray Davidson, with Garry McDonald, Nigel Hasselbaink, David Wotherspoon, Paddy Cregg and Steven MacLean all dropping down to the bench. Stevie May, the subject of transfer interest from English side Peterborough, led from the front as the Perth men looked to find a domestic cure for their European hangover. After a quiet opening 10 minutes, Saints came close when a May glancing header off an Easton free kick from the right skipped just past the post. May tried again a couple of minutes later, this time with a shot that flew over. Then at the other end keeper Alan Mannus raced from goal, only to be beaten to the ball by Paul Heffernan, although the danger was eventually cleared. A fine cross from the left from Rory McKeown on 22 minutes made its way through to Kris Boyd in front of goal but referee Willie Collum blew for handball by the former Rangers and Scotland man and the danger disappeared. With the half-hour mark passed, Killie created a decent chance to release Heffernan but as he bore down on Mannus he got the ball stuck under his feet and the opportunity was gone. Then a sweeping run down the right wing by Edwards enabled him to get a low cross over the face of goal to the inrushing Fallon, whose boot just wasn’t outstretched enough. Another great delivery from Edwards on 36 minutes did reach its target but May’s first-time strike was well saved by Killie goalie Craig Samson. Saints having just created their best chance of the game, Kilmarnock quickly followed suit with theirs as half-time approached. A fine ball into the box from Rabiu Ibrahim was met by the forehead of Heffernan and Mannus did well to stop the ball sneaking inside his far post. The visitors waited just eight minutes of the second half before making a positive substitution, taking off Easton and replacing him with Wotherspoon. A couple of minutes later, though, it was the home team on the attack and Mannus was the hero as he reached to his right to claw away a net-bound header from Darren Barr. Then Boyd slammed a shot just wide from a good position. The Perth men hit back with an attack of their own but Samson was quick off his line to cut out a Fallon cross before it reached the head of May. With 62 minutes on the clock, Tam Scobbie swung the ball over from the left and Fallon used all his height to reach the cross and send a looping header just over Samson’s bar. Saints made another change, bringing on Garry McDonald for Edwards, before May beat the offside trap, only to see his terrific ball across the face of goal go unconverted. Chris Millar then tried his luck from distance on 68 minutes without troubling Samson, before Jeroen Tesselaar of Killie became the first player to be booked for a late challenge on May. Saints had a stonewall shout for a spot kick on 75 minutes when Boyd blatantly tugged Steven Anderson’s jersey but there was no reaction from ref Collum. Killie also had a claim when Frazer Wright blocked a Gros shot with his hand. Boyd, always a threat for the hosts, ran at the St Johnstone backline three minutes later, veered left at the edge of the box, then smacked a low shot off the base of Mannus’s far post as the match threatened once again to conjure up a goal. On 83 minutes, Boyd took his frustration out on the woodwork again, smashing a shot off the bar before the ball came down on the wrong side of the line. With just two minutes to go, Heffernan’s turn and shot inside the box brought yet another fine stop out of Mannus. Both teams threw everything at each other in the closing stages but the scoreline, stubbornly, stayed blank. For more reaction from Rugby Park see The Courier or try our digital edition.
St Johnstone defender Steven Anderson will return to action ahead of schedule after recovering well from the thumb injury that has scuppered his season so far. The 27-year-old required surgery on a dislocated thumb after falling awkwardly during a league game against Partick Thistle back in September and looked like being sidelined until the end of the calendar year. However, Courier Sport understands the centre half received good news from a consultant on Monday and should return to full training early next week. Boss Tommy Wright is looking forward to having the defender back in the fold and reckons a return to first team competition before Christmas now looks a distinct possibility. “He had been doing passing drills and things like that but we’ll be able to increase that over the next week, so he’ll return to full training within seven days,” he said. “We were thinking he could return to full training probably around Christmas time so we’re now looking at two or three weeks ahead of that, and that’s really good news. “It was a really complex injury and the timeframe that was given to us we were comfortable with. We just had to accept it, but for him to come back early is a bonus.” Striker Steven MacLean is continuing his recovery from the knee surgery he had in November but the chances of seeing him soon are slim, as the three-month initial timescale given following his injury remains the same. “He’s six weeks non-weight bearing before he can start thinking about coming back,” he added. “The consultant reckons he’ll have a look at him after six weeks.” With MacLean likely to be out when the transfer window opens in January, Wright says he will assess the situation and his striking options when the time comes before deciding whether he needs to dip into the market. “If Steven seems to be making good progress and we’re comfortable with that, then there’s no need to panic,” he continued. “If it looks as if he’s got any problems then we might have to look at it. “I feel the surgeon was really happy with the operation, there was a bit of cartilage trouble there as well, but the surgeon was really pleased with how it went, so we can only go with what the consultant says and he’s been happy with it. “But I think, to be honest, to strengthen we’re going to have to have people go the other way as well. I can’t see that picture changing and I think that’s going to be the case. “We were able to bring in Sanel (Jahic) in a short-term deal but listen, things can change quickly and the chairman might feel he can release funds to help strengthen. “At the minute, any movement in will be determined by people going out as well. We’re looking at players and we’ve got a list if this happens or if this happens. “That’s the way we’re prepared but, in saying that, we had a player that we liked, we thought we could maybe get him in the window if we needed him, but he moved last week because he can move before the window. He was at a Premier club in England and went to a Championship club, so the picture changes. You may have targets ready but come January circumstances change, and he might change his mind, so it’s an ongoing process.” Wright was pleased with the draw his side were handed in the fifth round of the Scottish Cup on Monday and is not too concerned about the impact competing on several fronts could have on his squad. “Put it like this, I’d rather be in all competitions than not be,” he said. “And players want to play, so I think we’ve enough that we can rotate if we have to and if it needs freshened up. Most of the players want to play every week so I don’t see it as a problem if it is a problem it’s going to be a good problem. “When the draw was made, I was at a game on Monday and it was half-time so I was watching it on TV in the lounge. I looked at all the teams who were left and you had Celtic, Dundee United, Rangers, Aberdeen and St Mirren. “That’s no disrespect to Brechin or Forfar, and they were probably thinking of all the teams that were left they would probably take St Johnstone as well. I think it fell nicely for us, although it’s going to be a difficult tie. “They are not easy places to go and win, but it’s a long way off and we can put that on the back burner and concentrate on the league now for a few weeks. I’ll probably go up to the Forfar v Brechin replay next week and then we’ll have whoever wins the tie watched near the time.”
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.
St Johnstone are set to sign Bosnia-Herzegovina international defender Sanel Jahic. The powerful 31-year-old has been training with the club for a week and now they are ready to offer the French-born centre-half a deal. Work has been going on behind the scenes to tie up loose ends at his former side Karabukspor in Turkey but Saints may struggle to get international clearance in time for Jahic to be considered for the trip to St Mirren. Manager Tommy Wright has seen enough of Jahic during his trial spell to consider him worth of a contract. He comes with an impressive CV, having been capped for his country 24 times and featured for club sides like AEK Athens, Zeljeznicar Sarajevo and Apoel, where he sampled Champions League football. Jahic’s arrival will be a timely one for Saints, who have learned that Steven Anderson will be out for three months the worst-case scenario after receiving an updated specialist’s post-op assessment of his dislocated thumb. Wright confirmed: “I would love to keep Sanel here.” “It is clear he is a very good player and he has an impressive pedigree, including Champions League experience. I think he would be a really good addition to the squad because he can also play at right-back and as a sitting midfielder. “I also believe Sanel is the sort of player who can handle himself physically and be comfortable on the ball. He has fitted in well over the last week and I have spoken to the chairman Steve Brown about financing a deal. “With Steven Anderson now ruled out for even longer than originally feared, another top-quality defensive option would be invaluable. “The surgeon has had another look at Ando and it is going to be 12 weeks. I do have options but it would be nice to have someone who won’t be just here to provide cover but who can push for a place. “So we will speak to Sanel and his agent now and see if we can get something sorted out. He has a great CV and the fact we are in contention for him probably indicates where the game is at the moment. “Hopefully, we will see some movement on a deal over the next 24-48 hours.” Saints will not be pursuing their interest in former Doncaster player Martin Woods, another who has been training with the team. “Martin impressed me as well but defensive cover has to be our priority,” said Wright.
An historic Fife manufacturing company which produces more than two billion paper bags each year has secured a £35 million contract with McDonald’s. Kirkcaldy based Smith Anderson Group is the fast food giant’s oldest UK-based supplier, having first provided the burger chain with bags in the mid-1970s. The company is now celebrating after agreeing to extend its supply relationship with McDonald’s for another three years following a competitive tender process. The group – which has been operating for 158 years and remains in private hands – produces more than 10 million paper bags ever single day at its purpose built headquarters at Rosslyn Commerce Park, Mitchleston Industrial Estate, Fife. Over half that number - more than five million in total - are bound for McDonald’s, although the company also supplies bags for a number of other well known brands including ASDA, Caffe Nero, Starbucks, Pret a Manger, KFC and Burger King. Chief executive Michael Longstaffe said he was delighted Smith Anderson’s long relationship with McDonald’s was to continue till at least 2020. In addition to the UK, bags produced by Smith Anderson are also supplied into Ireland, the Netherlands and a number of other small European markets. The new contract will extend that reach further, with Fife-manufactured bags also being supplied into McDonald’s operations in Poland and in surrounding central eastern European countries. In addition, McDonald’s Europe has agreed to support a new joint venture that Smith Anderson has sought out with a major packaging supplier. The venture will be based in the south of Poland and staff taken on to man the new facility will be trained up in Kirkcaldy. The group said the expansion of its operations in eastern Europe will add an additional £2m to its annual revenue base. Mr Longstaffe said Smith Anderson was pleased to have reached a successful conclusion to a “complex” negotiation that first started last year. “This agreement was a great deal more complex than in previous years and McDonald’s are ever more demanding of their top flight supply chain,” Mr Longstaffe said. “Smith Anderson is thrilled to have secured this contract, most especially the European expansion and the benefits these deliver to shareholders and all of our 205 hardworking staff into 2020.” While the McDonald’s contract is positive news, the group said it continued to face challenges. It highlighted legacy costs in relation to its now closed defined benefit pension scheme and the uplift to pay packets from the introduction of the National Living Wage among the issues it was having to deal with. However, Mr Longstaffe said he was confident of the firm’s outlook in the medium term. “The future looks ever brighter for Smith Anderson, who in partnership with Barclays, have bought forward on a number of positive foreign exchange positions, to secure hard fought margin within recently won international contracts as far forward as 2019,” he said. “We are not looking for ‘quick wins’, but longer term secure and sustainable growth, from which we will all benefit.”
St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright still fears he will lose star striker Stevie May to Rotherham United. But not before this week’s Europa League return leg with Slovakian side Spartak Trnava. May is being chased by the cash-rich promoted Championship side after failing to pen a contract extension at McDiarmid and could get the chance to sign off in style. The Millers will have to come up with around £800,000 to secure their long-term target, who got a surprise 45-minute run in a one-sided testimonial game for long-time Perth servant Steven Anderson. A thigh strain kept him out of the first leg, which ended 2-1 for the Slovakians. Wright said: “Stevie is still our player and if I was a betting man I’d say he’d still be our player on Thursday and will play in Slovakia. The clubs are still talking but he will be playing in Europe for us. “Rotherham have been interested in Stevie for a long time and they keep banging at the door. They’ve come back a few times now, they’ve not gone away and seem determined to get their man. “But nothing’s agreed yet, there’s still discussions going on between the two clubs.” Testimonial man Anderson played his way into contention for the European tie but he admitted it wasn’t the result he wanted. “I’m gutted. Hearts wanted it more than us. It wasn’t good enough, especially from me because I was shocking. We treated it as a friendly and that’s not what I wanted. We had a makeshift team and it didn’t work. “But it’s still been a great day, I appreciate the fans turning out Saints and Hearts fans.” The appearance of May in the youthful Perth starting line-up was a bonus for fans turning up to pay tribute to his team-mate. Adding intrigue to the mix, the Scotland U21 international was partnered by a potential recruit in the shape of former Motherwell striker David Clarkson, who is a free agent after parting company with relegated Bristol Rovers. The 28-year-old had been training with the Fir Park club but no contract offer was forthcoming. Former Dundee United and Falkirk midfielder Mark Millar also got another run hard on the heels of a game against York City. Both teams provided Anderson with a guard of honour before the game got under way in front of 2,182 fans, including 718 from the capital. The defender was starting his first match since the Scottish Cup final win over Dundee United after recovering from a hamstring strain. In the 16th minute Michael O’Halloran pulled up with a dead leg and was immediately replaced by Dylan Easton. But, like midfielder Chris Millar, he will travel to Slovakia. With most of Wright’s key personnel kept in reserve for Europe, the visitors from Edinburgh were in command from the opening period, with veteran keeper Stevie Banks kept busy before being replaced by Mark Hurst. Only O’Halloran and Gary Miller had started against the Slovak side on Thursday and the capital club’s crop of kids provided ample evidence that they are well ahead of the Perth youngsters in terms of development after being blooded last term in the top flight. Banks was beaten twice in the space of two minutes as Hearts picked apart the Perth backline. In the 31st minute lanky Swedish striker Osman Sow bundled over Tam Scobbie before cutting inside Anderson and the keeper had no chance as the close range shot whizzed past him. Within 120 seconds Hearts had doubled their advantage. This time Jason Holt had time on his hands to take aim on the edge of the Perth penalty area and drilled a precise shot into the corner of the net. Saints sparked to life before the interval but keeper Neil Alexander pushed away an angled Clarkson volley before May fed Liam Caddis to test the former Rangers number one. Hearts changed their line-up at the interval while Saints opted to replace May with teenage prospect Chris Kane. But the pattern continued unchanged, with the capital side extending their advantage in the 55th when Gary Oliver buried a Jordan McGhee cross. And in the 69th minute Oliver calmly stroked a fourth past exposed teenage keeper Mark Hurst. Kane had a late chance to snatch a consolation goal for Saints but his header was off target.
Steven Anderson was described as the “classic unsung hero” by former St Johnstone boss Owen Coyle, and thoroughly deserving of a testimonial year. Coyle and the other three ex-Perth managers the centre-back has worked under at McDiarmid Park have all paid tribute to one of their most dependable players in their time in charge of Saints. Anderson’s testimonial season was officially launched on Thursday, and John Connolly, Coyle, Derek McInnes and Steve Lomas were all delighted to give it their support. Former Wigan and Bolton manager Coyle said: “Is Ando really a moaner? You bet. It’s part of his DNA. He is a great lad and we recognised at United that he had a good career ahead of him. “In many ways Ando is the classic unsung hero, but players know how valuable his attributes and attitude are to the team.” Connolly was the man who signed Anderson from Dundee United, and it has proved to be an excellent piece of business. He noted: “I remember going to see a United reserve game with Geoff Brown and Ando caught my eye. I must have got something right because he has been re-signed by a few managers since those days. “He might not be flash but he is an eight out of 10 player every week. He fought his corner as a kid and it is the same now. He is a courageous player and that is a fine quality to have.” Anderson and McInnes go furthest back, as the Aberdeen manager explained. “Ando was my boot boy at United and he deserves a lot of credit for taking the chance to move to St Johnstone when he could have remained in a comfort zone at Tannadice. “Even in training Ando takes it badly if he concedes a goal. He loves one v one challenges, absolutely relishes them. “He is so determined to keep the ball out of the net he defends as if his life depends on it and that’s a trait I like. Ando and St Johnstone have come a long way together and they have been a great fit. “They have both flourished over the last 10 years and Ando can be very proud of what he has achieved.” There are others in the Perth dressing room who merit special mention for putting up with Anderson over the years, according to Lomas. “The lads who have travelled with Ando over the years probably deserve testimonials as well,” he joked. “I can only imagine what driving up and down the road every day with him must be like. He’s probably one of the biggest moaners I’ve ever met, but that’s what’s made him such a good player over the years. “It’s not very common that players spend 10 years with clubs these days, but Ando has been at St Johnstone through winning the First Division, consolidating in the Premier League and qualifying for Europe.” The man himself insisted that he has loved every minute of being a St Johnstone player. “The last 10 years has gone really quick, I’m actually quite proud to have lasted a decade at the club,” he said. “It doesn’t happen very often and there have been a lot of changes during my time here. I came here from Dundee United for first-team football because I wanted to play. “John Connolly signed me then he was replaced by Owen Coyle, who I knew from Dundee United. And then when he left, Derek McInnes and Tony Docherty took over. I knew Doc from being my youth coach at United. “So I was maybe lucky that the club kept appointing managers I knew. But when Steve Lomas came in he seemed to think I was OK and then the gaffer now has taken over from him.”