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Summer campaign kicks off with a somersault . . .

IF this Scottish season is going to have its expected quota of twists and turns, who better than Shay Logan to score its first goal?

IN A SPIN: Shay Logan celebrates  his opening goal on Thursday with  an acrobatic cartwheel. Picture: SNS
IN A SPIN: Shay Logan celebrates his opening goal on Thursday with an acrobatic cartwheel. Picture: SNS

Logan has scored nine times in his career, which is not bad for a right-back, and he has taken to celebrating each of them with a very distinctive flourish. When he buried Aberdeen's opener in their 5-0 rout of Daugava Riga the other night - it was also the first goal of the entire Scottish season - he marked it with somersaults and back-flips.

He did the same thing when he scored a screamer against Celtic at Parkhead in May. It goes down a storm with Aberdeen supporters although the reaction is a little cooler from some who are employed to worry about his wellbeing.

"The physios and doctors cringe when I do it and they have a little word in my ear when I come off," said Logan, without giving the impression he intended to pay heed to their warnings. "I know I can do it. It was pretty early in the match so I knew I would be okay! A lot of my friends wind me up about doing it. I got it from by brother if I am being honest, he also used to be a pro footballer. I used to see him do it and I thought 'I am going to try it'."

There is a vitality about Logan which was reflected Aberdeen's whole performance against the deeply limited Latvians. A potential banana skin was negotiated confidently and after the formality of the second leg in Riga next Thursday Aberdeen will face the Dutch side, Groningen, in the Europa League second qualifying round, first leg, on July 17.

No Scottish club should be unwise enough to count its chickens before they have hatched these days, such has been the relentless volume of disappointing early-season results in recent years, but Logan could not stop himself talking positively about Aberdeen's prospects of making a real impression.

Motherwell got through two qualifying rounds in 2010 but Aberdeen themselves were the last Scottish team, outwith the Old Firm, to reach the group stage of one of the UEFA tournaments (they reached the last 32 of the UEFA Cup in 2007-08). Even if they eliminate Groningen they would face a third qualifying round and then a play-off before the group stage.

It has the look of a bridge too far, but in the afterglow of a 5-0 win Logan brimmed with optimism.

"I think we can definitely make the group stages," he said. "We have a real will to win and the manager and 'Doc' [assistant manager Tony Docherty] never let anything slide. It is 100% no matter who we play, regardless whether it is St Pats, Brechin or Arbroath. Every game is the same and we don't want to lose.

"We showed we were fitter than Daugava. We haven't been back long but we have come back fit and raring to go. We wanted to get second spot in the league last season and we ended up finishing third and that's the reason why we are in this round.

"But we want to get as far as we can and our performance against Daugava gives us as good a chance as any."

Goalkeeper Jamie Langfield posted a tweet yesterday joking about how unfair it was he had to train in the morning after such a punishing shift against Daugava the previous night. In fact Langfield expended more energy sending the tweet than he had during the game, such was the lack of threat from the Latvian team which had two men sent off in the second half and five others booked over the 90 minutes. Langfield was the only member of the Aberdeen team who also played when they were last in Europe, losing to Sigma Olomouc in 2009. As a unit they were new to European football but they made themselves at home with a performance featuring the energy, appetite and aggression which brought them such marked improvement last season.

It reduced the second leg to a formality. "It is going to be one of those games where they are 5-0 behind and they know they probably won't go through," said Logan. "But we are in their back yard and anything can happen.

"The game is not over. We kept 11 men on the pitch and we kept a clean sheet to take across there.

"The manager won't let us give anything less than 100%."

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