Jamie Maclaren: I’ve got a score to settle at Hibs

Jamie Maclaren has been getting into good positions, but has only netted once so far in his Hibs career. Pic: SNS
Jamie Maclaren has been getting into good positions, but has only netted once so far in his Hibs career. Pic: SNS
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Like any striker, Jamie Maclaren has that unwavering faith in his own ability, shrugging off spurned goal-scoring chances and only looking forward to the next opportunity that comes his way.

By his own admission the Australian internationalist could easily have had a goal or two as Hibs left Aberdeen reeling, Neil Lennon’s players turning up the heat in the race for second place in the Premiership table by closing to within five points of the Dons and Rangers.

The 2-0 victory obviously eased any personal disappointment MacLaren might have been harbouring, with the 24-year-old happy enough at having played his part in the opening goal, Aberdeen goalkeeper Freddie Woodman only able to palm his shot into the path of Martin Boyle to head home.

Florian Kamberi grabbed a second to put the points beyond Derek McInnes’ side and although Maclaren failed to get on the scoresheet as Woodman made three point-blank saves from him, the Socceroo is convinced Hibs’ new-look strikeforce will have plenty to celebrate in the coming weeks.

Swiss youngster Kamberi’s smart finish earned him his second goal in three games, while Maclaren’s solitary strike so far was also pivotal in driving the Capital club into the chase for a place in the Europa League when he converted a penalty against Rangers in Hibs previous outing.

Three goals in as many games is a pretty impressive return for two players who had met for the first time only a few weeks, but already the pair are building a highly promising partnership.

Maclaren said: “I think we can complement each other with me making the runs in behind which allows Flo to come short, and vice-versa. Obviously we have two different physiques, but I think we can work well off each other. We create chances for each other, but there are options for the boys behind when they get their heads up as see me running in behind and Flo coming short.

“I think we can make this a partnership but let’s not forget Oli Shaw, he’s a youngster who I think can contribute with some goals.”

The weekend result made it four wins in five for the Easter Road outfit and Maclaren insisted there’s no under-estimating the importance of the victories over Rangers and Aberdeen in particular.

Defeat in either – or both – of those matches would undoubtedly have ended hopes of catching the two sides immediately above them, but Maclaren – on loan from German club Darmstadt – insisted he and his team-mates had shown they can handle the pressure.

He said: “We’re looking up at the teams in front, but we need to stay on track and not get ahead of ourselves. However, we’ve given those two a knock and no matter who we are playing, on our day we create chances, are solid at the back and feel we can beat anyone.

“Any game when you win is sweet. The Rangers game was different to the weekend because it was going back and forward throughout, but I thought against Aberdeen we were in control. Once we got the first goal we were confident. I know I should have had a couple, but as a striker you have to keep getting on that bus.

“Part of my job is to hit the target. The goalkeeper has saved, but palmed the ball to Martin. For me it’s about staying confident and when you have players like Scott Allan, John McGinn and Dylan McGeouch behind you, you have to be in the right place at the right time.

“I’ll take the positives knowing I was making the right runs, creating chances and sooner or later I’ll get a bagful.”

Saturday was Maclaren’s first full 90 minutes since April last year when he played his final game for Brisbane Roar before his switch to Germany, his few appearances since for Darmstadt all coming as a substitute.

And he thoroughly enjoyed his first experience of playing in front of a sell-out Easter Road.

He said: “Home games are important but when the fans are behind you and you get that first goal you get a lift. Then it’s important you capitalise on it which we did, our tails were up.”