ON-LOAN Hibernian striker Jamie Maclaren admits the move to Edinburgh was fuelled by his desire to reach Russia this summer.
The Australian was a January arrival at Easter Road after a frustrating time since joining Darmstadt in the summer, during which he made just seven substitute appearances.
Such was his lack of game time that he lost his place in the national squad and, with the World Cup just months away, he decided to take action by moving to Scotland.
He could have easily moved across the city to Hibs’ Edinburgh rivals and opponents on Friday night, Hearts, but the striker insists his sole motivation for the move was to add to his five international caps.
So far, it looks to have paid off after manager Bert Van Marwijk recalled him to the squad to face Norway and Colombia this month, leaving the new Hibs man delighted with the move.
“I was close to signing somewhere else in Europe as well but Hibs came with the offer and it felt right,” he said. “So far it’s really paid off because I’m very happy to be here and my goal was to get back in the national team, and that has happened.
“I’m on a good path now and with the gaffer giving me some belief, and some good boys behind me, I’m in a good place at the moment.”
He added: “To be in the national team you have to be playing regularly and I knew that when I was in the national team (previously), I was playing regularly.
“Scoring goals is important as a striker but I feel like I’ve evolved my football in terms of playing up front with Flo (Kamberi), and coming to feet and working on my weaknesses.
“Hibs has given me that opportunity.
“I know that if I’m playing regularly I will always be considered because there’s not a lot of strikers in the national team and not too many strikers of my physique.”
Despite making an early impression in Edinburgh, which included a winner from the spot to beat Rangers at Ibrox, Maclaren’s future is uncertain despite not making a start in Germany since moving there from Brisbane.
“They (Darmstadt) own me,” he said. “I still have a couple of years left on my contract.
“We will have to see what happens in the off-season and what their plans are because the new manager that came in, Dirk Schuster, he told me he didn’t want me to leave on loan but mentally I was too far gone.
“We will have to sit down at the end of the season, but that’s not my focus at the moment.”