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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...

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

Jim Goodwin handed two-game ban for striking Dundee United’s Stuart Armstrong

December 30 2013

St Mirren’s Jim Goodwin will serve a two-match ban after being charged by the SFA for striking Dundee United’s Stuart Armstrong with his arm last week. The Irishman was handed a two-game ban subject to appeal. However, the Buddies soon confirmed they would accept the punishment. The charge against him stated he struck Armstrong “on the face with an arm”. Goodwin had until Tuesday to respond but the club opted not to go down that route. The controversial midfielder was substituted by manager Danny Lennon before half-time in what looked a preventative measure to stop his skipper being sent off in their 4-1 win over Jackie McNamara’s young side. https://www.youtube.com/embed/E_pkeh9Hesg?rel=0 Goodwin’s apparent first-half forearm smash on Stuart Armstrong went unpunished by referee Bobby Madden prior to his replacement. However, the SFA’s compliance officer Vincent Lunny examined footage of the first-half flashpoint of Thursday’s Premiership encounter. In an unusual move, United even posted footage of a clip of the incident to back up McNamara’s claim that Madden should have acted before Saints were able to take their captain off. McNamara said: “I spoke to Danny Lennon after the game. He thinks Jim (Goodwin) gets singled out for certain things, but I think he singles himself out. His challenge on Stuart with his arm was naughty. "I don’t want to see people sent off and it doesn’t change anything from the game. But I want to see the right decisions being made.”

Scottish League 1

Raith boss Barry Smith looking for side to embark on another long unbeaten run

January 27 2018

Raith Rovers boss Barry Smith is looking for his side to embark on another long unbeaten run when they face Alloa this afternoon. The table-topping Kirkcaldy outfit missed out on a golden opportunity last week to extend their lead over Ayr United – who were on Scottish Cup duty – when they slipped to a narrow defeat at Stranraer. The result brought to an end a run of eight games without loss with Smith now determined his side will bounce back strongly against Jim Goodwin’s Wasps although a key midfielder is a big doubt through injury. The Stark’s Park boss said: “It was obviously disappointing to lose last week at what is always a difficult place to go to but it is important we move on quickly. “We had gone eight games unbeaten which the boys deserve great credit for. “Hopefully we can now embark on another run starting at Alloa this weekend. “It is never easy going there and they have added three good additions in Jordan Kirkpatrick and Ross Stewart from St Mirren and Jamie McCart from Celtic during the window.” Smith added: “The games between us so far this season have been close and I expect it will be tough again. “Unfortunately, Scott Robertson is struggling for the game after picking up a hamstring injury last week. “However, Kevin McHattie returns to the squad after playing 60 minutes during the week which is a boost for us. “Willis Furtado made his debut for us last Saturday coming off the bench and he showed wee glimpses of what he is capable of. “He is strong and direct which is why we signed him and we have high hopes for him.”

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

Dundee United 3 Alloa 1: Tangerines leave it late to take the sting out of the Wasps

September 2 2017

Dundee United are through to third round of the Irn-Bru Cup after this win over Alloa at Tannadice. The scoreline ultimately flattered the home side who struggled throughout against the part-time Wasps. United opened the scoring from the penalty spot through Patrick N’Koyi in the second half with Jim Goodwin’s League 1 side equalising thanks to Kevin Cawley. However, United struck twice in stoppage time with fabulous goals by Paul McMullan and skipper Willo Flood. United boss Ray McKinnon made nine changes from the side that was beaten at St Mirren last week, selecting a mixture of youngsters along with more experienced players in need of game time against the Wasps with a starting spot for new signing Joe Piggott. There was a lacklustre opening to the game with United being restricted to a couple of early attempts from long-range by Logan Chalmers. However, Alloa had a huge opportunity in the 23rd minute when former Dundee left-back Daryll Meggatt cut the ball back to Cawley just inside the Tangerines’ box but he dragged his shot wide with the goal at his mercy. After that, there was little for the 1,763 crowd inside Tannadice to become excited about before the Wasps then had another good chance in the 44th minute but Alan Cook lost his composure and blasted his shot over. The teams headed down the tunnel at half-time with the game in desperate need of a spark of inspiration from somewhere. McMullan tried to provide it one minute after the restart but his curling shot flew just over. On the hour mark, Chalmers had another pop at goal but his effort was easily gathered by Alloa keeper Neil Parry. However, the keeper was unable to prevent United taking the lead in the 72nd minute. N’Koyi burst into the Wasps box and was brought down by Andy Graham with referee Willie Collum having no hesitation in awarding a penalty. N’Koyi picked himself up to take the spot-kick, calmly sending Parry the wrong way and the ball into the back of the net. But just six minutes later, Alloa equalised. Sub Adam Martin cut the ball back to Cawley who gave United keeper Deniz Mehmet no chance with a drilled low shot from 16 yards. N’Koyi had a great chance to give his side the lead once more in the 87th minute but his strike from 12 yards flew straight into Parry’s hands. The game looked destined to head to extra-time but in the 92nd minute, N’Koyi set up McMullan who made no mistake, sending a superb strike high past Parry. The icing was well and truly put on the cake just a minute later when Flood hit a thunderous drive from 22 yards that flew past the helpless Parry.

Dundee United

Dundee United 0 Inverness 2: Tangerines booed off after dismal home defeat

October 21 2017

Dundee United slumped to their second successive Championship defeat after being comprehensively beaten by Inverness at Tannadice. Caley who started the day second bottom of the league table, opened the scoring through Iain Vigurs and then added a second before half-time thanks to Connor Bell. Caley were by far the better side and fully deserved their victory while there were few in a tangerine shirt deserving of pass marks. Dundee United boss Ray McKinnon made two changes from the side that lost 2-0 at Livingston last week with Sam Stanton and Lewis Toshney coming in for Billy King and the injured Jordie Briels. There was a welcome return to the bench for Tam Scobbie and Scott Fraser. Former United defender Coll Donaldson was in the Inverness starting line-up along with ex-Dundee striker John Baird. The Highland outfit had a gilt-edged opportunity in just the fifth minute when Liam Polworth swung a free-kick in from the right with Carl Tremarco finding space and time in the home box but he directed his header straight at Tangerines keeper Harry Lewis. The United defence was posted missing in action again shortly after when Polworth flighted a corner in from the right with Baird having a free header which he sent over the bar. McKinnon’s men had their first chance of the match in the 17th minute. James Keatings was brought crashing down in a challenge by Brad McKay who earned himself a booking from ref Willie Collum. Keatings picked himself up and hit a superb 20-yard free-kick which Inverness keeper Mark Ridgers acrobatically palmed away for a corner. However, it was Caley who took the lead in the 28th minute. Polworth again sent a corner in from the right with Willo Flood attempting to head clear. Unfortunately, he only found Vigurs who hit a rising shot from just inside the box past Lewis with what looked like the help of a deflection off a home defender. The Tangerines almost replied instantly when Scott McDonald hit a snap shot inside the Inverness penalty area but Ridgers produced a superb save to deny the striker. Things then went from bad to worse for the Tangerines in the 37th minute when Caley doubled their advantage. Polworth sent Jake Mulraney scampering down the right with a great pass and he hit the byeline before cutting the ball across goal to Bell at the back post for a simple tap-in. Caley had another great chance to extend their lead even further in the 56th minute when Tremarco again found space in the Tangerines’ box but Lewis made a vital block to keep out his shot. On the hour mark, McKinnon withdrew Paul McMullan for Stewart Murdoch with defender Mark Durnan being pressed into service as a centre-forward. However, Caley continued to look comfortable in defence and dangerous on the break and successfully saw out the game to take all three points with the final whistle being greeted with a deafening barrage of boos from the home support.

Readers' letters

February 11: Is political obstinacy the barrier to taking a sensible line on power generation?

February 11 2012

Today's letters to The Courier. Sir, - I never thought I would find myself in the same camp as the awesome and awful Donald Trump, but he has got one thing right it is worrying that Scotland is depending more and more on tourism as the saviour of the economy. There is nothing wrong with tourism it has led to an enormous upsurge in the quality of restaurants, hotels, etc but it is manufacturing that is going to pay the bills, and that is going down rather than up. Westminster and Edinburgh plug green power for all it is worth, resulting in the ruination of many magnificent landscapes with pylons and windfarms in direct contrast to what is desired by the tourist industry. Many of your readers have put far better than I am able how inefficient wind power is. Much more worrying is how likely it is that we are going to run out of power altogether and become reliant on European neighbours, who have more sense than we do, for necessary imported power. Nobody in Britain is investing in new and proper power stations. We have under Scotland about a 500-year supply of coal. We also have the technology to extract cleanly electric power from this coal. Why are we not doing the sensible thing and creating thousands of jobs in extracting and using this coal and becoming a massive exporter of power? Political obstinacy? Flexible thinking, it seems, is highly regarded in every area, except where it involves a politician doing a u-turn. Robert Lightband.Clepington Court,Dundee. Rugby club finances are in robust health Sir, - I refer to the article published in The Courier on February 6, reporting Cupar Community Council's support of Howe of Fife RFC's efforts to explore the possibility of it creating clubhouse facilities at Duffus Park, Cupar. The club welcomes the community council's support of this venture. However, the comments in the article attributed to its chairman, Canon Pat McInally, as regards the club's financial integrity were wholly inaccurate. Howe of Fife RFC is not, and never has been "...just about bankrupt..." as Canon McInally was quoted as saying. To the contrary, the finances of the rugby club are in robust health with its clubhouse operation trading profitably. I am sure that neither Canon McInally, nor any of the members of the community council, would have intended to cast doubt on the club's financial well-being, but, that, unfortunately, is what the article has achieved. In these circumstances, it is important that the record be set straight in order to allay any unfounded concerns that may have been raised amongst both the club's membership and the general public. Over many years Howe of Fife RFC has built a deserved reputation as a force in developing youth rugby. The project currently under consideration is driven by the club's ambition to build on that reputation and, ultimately, if possible, to provide improved facilities for all its members, but, in particular, the youth of the club. David Harley.President,Howe of Fife RFC. Where is the evidence? Sir, - Isn't living in Scotland interesting? Despite 75% of the electorate declining to vote SNP last May and the referendum being at least two years away, Ian Angus claims in his letter (February 8) that Mr Salmond has a "mandate for independence"! As if that's not enough he has decided that those who choose not to vote in the referendum must be opposed to the union, so a vote of less than 50% for independence will give the "green light" to go ahead with negotiations. Where on earth does he get the evidence for these statements? Kenn McLeod.70 Ralston Drive,Kirkcaldy. Memories of Willie Logan Sir, - The article on the 50th anniversary of Loganair brought back memories of founder, Willie Logan. In the early 1960s my parents lived in Magdalen Yard Road, overlooking the Riverside Drive airstrip. Blazing oil drums lining the grass runway often announced the early morning arrival of Willie to inspect work on the Tay Road Bridge. I worked for a spell then at Caird's in Reform Street, and on occasions there would be a hammering on the door before opening time, as he came post-haste from Riverside looking for a quick haircut! John Crichton.6 Northampton Place,Forfar. The road is not to blame Sir, - I refer to an article you ran on the front page quite recently, Shock at speeders on the A9. As an ex-driving examiner and member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, I know the A9 having used it for years and have experienced some dreadful acts of overtaking at speeds over the limit. I certainly do not blame the road. All roads are safe without traffic. Neil G. Sinclair.St Martins, Balbeggie,Perthshire. Poor response Sir, - Further to your recent article, Windfarm response is positive, which referred to a proposal to erect a windfarm alongside the A822 tourist route between Crieff and Aberfeldy at a site above Connachan Farm, it may be illuminating to point out that the conclusions were based on only 50 responses a 1% return of the 5,000 survey questionnaires! A totally insignificant response. John Hughes.Crieff. Get involved: to have your say on these or any other topics, email your letter to letters@thecourier.co.uk or send to Letters Editor, The Courier, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL. Letters should be accompanied by an address and a daytime telephone number.

Scottish League 1

Raith Rovers boss envious of opponents’ clean bill of health

December 2 2017

Raith Rovers boss Barry Smith admitted he is envious of opposite number Jim Goodwin’s clean bill of health at Alloa. The two promotion hopefuls clash at Stark’s Park today and Smith would love to be able to get the consistency of selection that Goodwin has benefitted from. He said: “Alloa have enjoyed something recently which we have not been able to do and that is fielding a settled team. “They won five games in a row without making any changes to their line-up and that consistency of selection has helped them. “They have good players in their squad and climbed into the top four as a result of those wins. Not having to chop and change things will have been a benefit. Having been on a good run they will view this game as the perfect one to bounce back in after losing late on to Ayr last weekend. “We also scored in the last minute to get a draw at their place at the start of the season and I am sure their manager Jim Goodwin will be mentioning that.” Smith is anticipating a more open contest than last weekend’s 2-0 win over bottom side Queen’s Park who frustrated the Fifers before Dario Zanatta and Greig Spence found a way through to goal. He added: “It was a case of being patient and we were. “I am delighted for Dario to get the goal that provided the breakthrough as he has been working really hard without getting too much of a reward. “This game should be different as Alloa usually open up and play in an attacking way. They have good players so we will need our creative players to find space and create danger.” Smith added: “We are the home side and have been strong there all season and we will look to continue in that manner.” Aaron Lennox, Kevin Cuthbert, Kyle Benedictus, Kevin McHattie and Bobby Barr are all out injured, with two unnamed players also doubtful.

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