Hibs striker Jamie Maclaren's hopes of playing in this summer's World Cup finals in Russia rose today as he was named in Australia's squad for two friendlies later this month.
Maclaren made the switch to Easter Road in January in a bid to catch the eye of new Aussie boss Bert van Marwijk realising his hopes of playing on football's biggest stage were evaporating as his move to German outfit Darmstadt had turned sour.
The 24-year-old has become a regular starter for the Capital club and scored the winner, from the penalty spot, as Neil Lennon's side defeated Rangers 2-1 at Ibrox.
Now he has been rewarded, the former Brisbane Roar player included in a 29-man preliminary squad for matches against Norway in Oslo on March 23 and Colombia at Fulham's Craven Cottage four days later as the Socceroos begin their preparations for the World Cup where they have been drawn against France, Peru and Denmark.
Van Marwijk said: "“Since my appointment with the Socceroos, my staff, scouts and I have monitored more than 100 Australian players in the Hyundai A-League, as well as in leagues across Europe and Asia.
“We are pleased with the initial 29 players we have picked for our upcoming games against Norway and Colombia and will finalise the squad next week.
“There are still a couple of weeks before the group gathers in Oslo, so we will continue to monitor the health and fitness of all the players in the preliminary squad, as well as those on our longer list of potential World Cup squad members.
“Our upcoming matches against Norway and Colombia will provide a great chance for the players selected to press their claims for Russia, however, the door remains ajar for all players not picked for the March window."