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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...

Perth & Kinross

Clansmen and women head home to Scottish roots

February 18 2017

Members of an ancient clan whose ancestral  lands lay in Glenshee and Glenisla will be heading from around the world this summer for a gathering in Perthshire. This year the clan MacThomas members have also been invited to take in a performance of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, marching on to the castle esplanade wearing the clan tartan. Following their appearance at the tattoo on August 24,  the clan gathering will be staged in Pitlochry and Glenshee from August 25 to 28. Events will include a tour of the clan territory, genealogy research, attendance at the Strathardle Highland Games in Kirkmichael, and a clan dinner in the presence of the 19th chief, Andrew MacThomas of Finegand, in Pitlochry. There will also be a ceremony held at Clach na Coileach in Glenshee, battle re-enactments in both Glenshee and Glenisla and a ceilidh. Mary Grundberg (nee Thoms), the clan's European secretary, said: "The gathering is always a memorable get together with clansfolk coming from all over the world. “This year will be extra special with the opportunity of taking part in the world famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo.” According to the society’s research Tomaidh Mor “Great Tommy”, from whom the clan takes its name, lived in the 15th century in Glenshee. To the government in Edinburgh they were recognised as a separate clan and known as MacThomases. The 7th chief extended the clan's land into Glen Begg,  Prosen and Strathardle and he purchased the Barony of Forter in Glenisla. Cromwell won the 7th chief's admiration but this soured his relationship with the neighbouring clans and on the restoration of Charles II in 1660, he found himself in trouble with parliament, who fined him heavily. The fine, a feud and a cripling law suit that followed ruined the MacThomases, and following the 7th chief's death, his sons were forced to sell their lands and the clan started to drift apart with some taking the names McCombie, McComb and McCombe as well as the anglicised forms Thom, Thoms, Thomas and Thomson. The Clan MacThomas Society was founded in 1954 and information on the tattoo appearance and the gathering is available at  www.clanmacthomas.com.

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 United

Dundee United confirm signing of St Johnstone’s Tam Scobbie

June 13 2017

St Johnstone defender Tam Scobbie has signed for Dundee United. The former Falkirk man, who can play at centre-back and left-back, has agreed a two-year deal. He is Ray McKinnon’s third signing for next season – joining Billy King and James Keatings at Tannadice. Scobbie’s Saints deal came to an end in the summer. Scobbie said: “I am excited to join United. It is a great club with fantastic support. “When I spoke to the manager, I knew this was where I wanted to sign, and I am delighted to have my future secured. I look forward to meeting my new teammates and being together in our attempt to get back into the Premiership.” McKinnon said: “Thomas is an excellent defender who can play both left back and central, and he will enhance our defensive options. As important, he is also a great organiser, a real leader with plenty of experience and these are vital characteristics for me. “We need to add more players, and I expect to further add to the squad before pre-season begins.”

Perth & Kinross

Perthshire fraudster Reece Scobie jailed for another eight months

January 22 2014

A Perthshire conman likened to Leonardo Di Caprio’s character in the film Catch Me If You Can has been jailed for eight months for cheating hotels and rail firms. Reece Scobie, 20, from Rait, between Dundee and Perth, admitted a number of fraud charges at Southwark Crown Court. He is currently serving a 16-month sentence imposed at Perth Sheriff Court for similar offences. Judge John Price told Scobie, who has Asperger’s Syndrome and obsessive compulsive disorder: “If you don’t learn now, you never will.” Scobie admitted three charges of fraud, two of possessing articles for use in fraud and four of unlawful interception of emails. He also admitted an additional count of fraud by false representation and a single count of possessing an article for use in fraud. The court heard how he used popular websites to obtain customer card details, intercepting online bookings as they were sent out to hotels and venues. Prosecutor Miranda Jollie told the court: “These were online frauds. They would find compromised credit cards and use them for high-value train tickets. “The companies involved notified the British Transport Police.” She said the police were able to track him down because he was using a council internet account at a library to make the transactions. He was also picked up on CCTV collecting the tickets. Ms Jollie said: “What he was doing was hacking into the emails sent from booking websites to hotels and taking the customer details and using these to make purchases of tickets. On one occasion, he had made a complaint about a delay and had been awarded compensation.” When officers searched Scobie, they found scores of train booking confirmations and “details of fraudulent credit cards”. However, rather than selling the tickets for profit, Scobie retained them until they expired, which was a symptom of his Asperger’s, said Kieran Moroney, defending. He said: “This was planned but not professionally planned. Many of the tickets were duplicates, many of them were expired.” Judge Price jailed him for eight months to be served consecutive to his current prison term in Scotland, which is due to be completed in June.

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 United

Tam Scobbie cannot wait to sample Dundee derby at Dens

July 25 2017

Tam Scobbie knows all about Tayside derbies having played in enough of them for St Johnstone. However, it will be a step into the unknown for the 29-year-old defender now that he is at Dundee United when his side make the short journey to Dens this Sunday in the Betfred Cup. As is traditional, the Tangerines squad will walk to their rivals’ ground, something that came as a bit of a surprise to Scobbie, who said: “I just thought we’d get the bus, to be honest! “It will be something different that I haven’t experienced before. “I am sure when the fixtures were announced all the boys wanted to be part of it. “Everyone in the dressing-room will make sure they are properly prepared to go there and hopefully get a result. “It will be a massive game. Our fans have sold out their allocation of tickets so they will be looking forward to going up the road to their big rivals. “The manager said we will need to prepare properly which we will do. “We have a rest day on Monday but starting on Tuesday we will look to build up to the game. “I am sure they will be the same as I saw Neil (McCann) was disappointed with the Dundee performance against Buckie. “He will be at them to make sure they are right up for the game against us as it is massive for them as well. “It will be good to be involved in a big derby like that for the first time and I am really looking forward to it.” Scobbie and the rest of the United players will arrive at Dens in confident frame of mind with Sunday’s 4-1 win over Cowdenbeath at Tannadice making it three wins out of three so far in the Betfred Cup. He said: “It was a good win and it keeps the momentum going. “The manager has been speaking about that since I came in that these games weren’t just warm-ups. “The season started from the first game and we need to keep progressing and winning matches as we have been doing. “So it was a positive result against Cowdenbeath but we are just disappointed with the slack goal we gave away. “It is something we have been trying to implement into our mentality that we do not concede goals so we will sit down, look at it, see if we could have done better and take that into Sunday.” Scobbie added: “I think the performances have been good. “The manager shuffled things about a little bit against Cowdenbeath. “Some boys have picked up knocks but the lads who have come in have done fantastically well. “Matty Smith up top did brilliantly. “But everybody can take plaudits for the three wins as they were difficult games especially so early on in the season. “But they have been good for us.”

St Johnstone

Scobbie wants more Euro nights at McDiarmid

May 2 2015

There’s a big chunk of the season that Tam Scobbie would rather forget. But the Europa League campaign certainly isn’t part of it. The St Johnstone defender was one of the Perth side’s main men as they advanced through one round of the competition and came very close to progressing even further. But a training ground injury not long after those memorable late summer nights robbed the penalty hero against FC Luzern of several months of football. He’s obviously hoping the long lay-offs are a thing of the past but, now that he’s back to fitness and form, Scobbie is determined to sample a repeat dose of European football. And a win over third-placed Inverness Caledonian Thistle today would be a big step towards that. Scobbie said: “I want to play in Europe again. All the guys will say the same. “For a club like St Johnstone to get there four years in a row would be a massive achievement. “They were great occasions at McDiarmid and we want to experience more of them. “We’re in front of Dundee United now and we want to stay there. “All we can do is win as many as we can and if it ends up that’s not good enough to get there, so be it. “At the very least we’ll be going into next season in a positive frame of mind. “United and Inverness have been in third and fourth for most of the season and we’re looking to put pressure on them. They have been up there all season so have most to lose.” Scobbie agreed a new two-year contract recently, and he intends to reward the club’s faith in him. “It’s been a long time getting the contract sorted but I’m happy that it got done,” he said. “Now we’re looking forward to the possibility of getting into Europe again and things are looking good for the future with lot of other boys having signed up already. “It wasn’t on my mind. Even when I was coming back from my injury the manager had told me they were looking to get a new deal sorted with me. “Once I got back we put the wheels in motion and it was just a matter of time before it got completed. “The club have been great. I’ve had two serious injuries since I’ve been here, so I haven’t managed to get a full season under my belt. “I’ll go into this close season in good health hopefully, work hard in pre-season and then kick on after that. “The injuries haven’t changed the way I play the game or view the game. I know I’m fit and strong. The rehab has been excellent.” John Hughes is a former manager of Scobbie’s at Falkirk, and the versatile defender knows better than most that his old boss won’t allow Caley Thistle to be distracted by the prospect of a Scottish Cup final. “I know what he is like,” Scobbie pointed out. “When I was at Falkirk and looking forward to the cup final he would be warning the lads that places were up for grabs. There was no let-up. “He put you under pressure to perform and it will be the same now at Inverness. “It was always hanging over your head. We know Yogi will be at them to make it a hard game for us and we have to handle that. “Inverness have been fantastic all season and I don’t see them letting up any time soon.”

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

St Johnstone

St Johnstone defender Tam Scobbie making progress on comeback trail

October 11 2016

Tam Scobbie will take a big step on his road back to the St Johnstone first team this week. The versatile defender has been absent for most of the season so far after undergoing knee surgery. But a return to training is now expected. Manager Tommy Wright reported: “Tam Scobbie will start being integrated back into the group this week but probably won’t resume full training until next week. “It’s still a bit too early for full sessions. “It will be good to get Scobbie back, although the young lads like Liam Gordon and Aaron Comrie have done extremely well. “But you want every player fit so you can maximise your options as a manager. “His versatility is a plus as well. Scobs can fit in at left back and central defence.” Keith Watson’s return isn’t on the horizon. “Keith has had an injection in his thigh and it will be another 10 days at least before he can do anything,” said Wright. “Ally Gilchrist has had another groin operation and is looking at six to seven weeks out.” “Alan Mannus and Paul Paton will be back with us on Thursday after the game with Germany. Mark Hurst is also away with the under-21s, although he is on loan, so that’s good for the club as well.” Wright expects Paton to get a big confidence boost from his Northern Ireland recall. “It’s great for Paul to get back into the Northern Ireland squad,” he said. “It was one of his reasons for coming here. “I know Michael (O’Neill) has had him in squads before so obviously he likes him. He has started his St Johnstone career quite well and put in some impressive performances in an area of the park where competition is fierce here. “It’s basically two from four experienced players in the middle of the park. I wanted competition there because Chris Millar was a concern with his injuries towards the end of last season.”