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Aberdeen skipper scores hat-trick of penalties

Aberdeen captain Paul Hartley is targeting a Scotland return following his dream debut for his new club. The 33-year-old became the first-ever Clydesdale Bank Premier League player to score a hat-trick of penalties as he led Aberdeen to an opening-day 4-0 victory over a lacklustre Hamilton.

The former Bristol City and Celtic man believes he can force his way into Scotland boss Craig Levein's plans for next month's Euro 2012 double-header against Lithuania and Liechtenstein.

Hartley said: "I have always said I will never ever retire from international football, I will always make myself available.

"If I'm playing well I hope to get picked, but if I'm not then I won't be picked, it's as simple as that.

"All I can do is try to keep playing well and you never know. There are two big games coming up next month, so if I'm playing well then great."

Hartley was particularly pleased with his unique spot-kick treble.

"I can get that written on my grave now!" he joked.

"I couldn't have imagined that happening. It is not very often that you get three penalties in one game, but they were all penalties.

"It was nice to take the responsibility and score. I was pretty confident, I think young Chris (Maguire) was wanting to take the first one but, being the captain, I felt I had to take the responsibility and step up and try to get us the lead.

"This is a good start for us but we have to build on it. We know there is still a long way to go."

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