Hibs striker Jamie Maclaren has backed himself to get among the goals after his strike clinched victory in his first Edinburgh derby.
Maclaren fired home the Easter Road side’s second goal ten minutes from time, putting the game beyond the Tynecastle outfit after Scott Allan had fired Neil Lennon’s team ahead early in the second half.
It was the Australian internationalist’s first goal from open play – his only other being a penalty spot winner against Rangers at Ibrox – and having missed chances against Aberdeen and Kilmarnock, he revealed he feels as “if the monkey has been lifted off my back”.
However, he insisted those missed opportunities hadn’t knocked his confidence, nor did a fantastic earlier save from Jon McLaughlin, the Jam Tarts goalkeeper somehow putting a fingertip on the ball to send it on to the underside of his crossbar.
Maclaren, named in the provisional Socceroos squad for two World Cup warm-up matches against Norway and Colombia at the end of this month, said: “As a striker you don’t worry too much about the chances you miss, you can’t afford to let your head go down.
“You have to try to be patient and confident. I had chances against Aberdeen and Kilmarnock but I know I will always score goals. If I am in the box I will create chances and I think I showed I am a box player.”
Hearts boss Craig Levein was critical of the manner in which both goals were conceded, but according to Hibs midfielder John McGinn, Maclaren’s strike was simply down to a quality finish, the striker taking Efe Ambrose’ throw-in before getting away from both John Souttar and Steven Naismith to drill a low shot through a ruck of players and into the bottom corner of the net.
Sharing Maclaren’s prediction that the goals will now start to flow, McGinn said: “It was a brilliant finish, he’s a striker who knows where the goals are.
“He’s maybe not the strongest guy in the world, but he makes up for that by being clever and nippy. He and Flo Kamberi ran Hearts ragged, they are a force to be reckoned with.”
Maclaren admitted, however, that despite his own self-belief, scoring against Hearts also brought a measure of relief.
“It’s some feeling when you see it hit the back of the net and hear 20,000 fans roaring and have the guys jumping on top of you and screaming things.
“It was just a great moment but I know if I am playing from the start of a game I will always create chances and sometimes as a striker it only takes one to get that monkey off your back.
“The Ranges one was a penalty but a goal is a goal in my mind and now I’m aiming to kick on.”