Maclaren aiming to be van Marwijk’s go-to man for goals

Socceroos FIFA World Cup hopeful Jamie Maclaren insists his self-belief has never foundered as he embarks on a sprint which could see him break the tape in Russia.

Jamie Maclaren

Jamie Maclaren celebrates after scoring for Hibernian Source: Jamie Maclaren Twitter

Six months worth of "anger and frustration" coalesced in an eruption of exultation as Maclaren fired his first goal for new club Hibernian against Rangers at the weekend, in what doubled as an audition for new Socceroos coach Bert van Marwijk.

After two previous cameos off the bench, on-loan Maclaren reaped lavish praise from coach Neil Lennon as he starred as a seventh minute substitute, capping off an eye-catching performance with the ice-cool spot-kick finish.

It sealed a 2-1 victory for Hibernian in front of a crowd of 49,986 at Ibrox in the land of Maclaren's ancestors.


For the ex-Brisbane Roar goal machine - starved of game time at parent club SV Darmstadt - it was, as he put it, "the perfect moment to get back to what I love doing, which is scoring."

"I love the big occasions and when the penalty was awarded I just ran straight to the ball," Maclaren said.

"I blocked out the huge crowd and just put my laces through it. It's a feeling you can't explain, and it was long overdue.

"I'll never lose confidence in my ability in front of goal but if you'd told me two months back I'd join Hibs and score the winner against Rangers I wouldn’t have believed you.

"Hopefully it will remind people I'm still here, and still scoring goals, and hopefully I can kick on from here and enjoy this last half of the season with Hibs.

"I feel like I have unfinished business ... I have a lot of energy and a lot of motivation to succeed here after a frustrating few months (in Germany)."

While his desire to add to his five Australia caps runs deep, Maclaren, 24, isn't letting a maiden Hibs goal go to his head.

"It’s premature to be talking too much about the Socceroos because the squad (for next March’s friendlies against Norway and Colombia) is still a month away," he said.

"I need to be playing and scoring to be even considered. I've always thought if I'm doing well I'll be a good chance of selection because I bring a different aspect to the team in terms of going forward.

"I'm a born goalscorer. It's what I live and breathe. Hopefully I can impress the new boss, keep scoring goals, keep myself in the headlines and keep fit."

Used sparingly by ex-Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou, Maclaren views van Marwijk’s arrival as a "clean slate".

"I was in and out of Ange's squads and there's now even more of an incentive to go out and do well, so I'm always in the back of the boss’s mind," he said.

A fit and in-form Maclaren offers another attacking dimension for Australia, who leaned heavily on the aging Tim Cahill and Swiss-based Tomi Juric under Postecoglou.

Maclaren, who represented Scotland at youth level before opting for the green and gold, describes being in Edinburgh as a "home from home".

His dad, Don, was a junior with crosstown rivals Hearts and grandad, Donald, is lifelong Jambos fan.

His family ties run deep in the city, with relatives in abundance. All of whom are Hearts fans.

Maclaren sees linking up with former Celtic boss Lennon, who coached Tom Rogic while at the Hoops helm, as a good fit with fourth-placed Hibs chasing a European spot.

"He wears his heart on his sleeve, is hard but fair and sets the bar high with his standards," Maclaren said.

"He's trying to drive us on to complete with the big boys in Glasgow.

"I like working under him and now I have showed him I can score goals and step up in the big moments I’m sure we can work well together."

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4 min read
Published 6 February 2018 at 11:11am
By Dave Lewis