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EXCLUSIVE: Australian striker Maclaren wanting fresh start with Hibernian after Darmstadt 'nightmare'

Sometimes the grass isn't always greener on the other side, as Jamie Maclaren's stint with SV Darmstadt 98 can attest.

Fortunately for the 24-year-old, he has been given a chance to reignite his career with Scottish club, Hibernian, joining on loan for the rest of the season.

"[I'm] really excited to be joining Hibs," Maclaren told Tribal Football.

"Both Edinburgh clubs I know very well through my family being from that city and I'm just glad it's all done and looking forward to wearing the green.

"[The] last 6 months have been a bit of a nightmare.

"But that's football, nothing is ever smooth sailing. It's all about getting out of the hole and believing in yourself."

Maclaren's positivity is commendable given the circumstances.

After spending two successful seasons with Brisbane Roar, the talented Australian made the courageous decision to join an unheralded Bundesliga 2. club.

Now just imagine all the things that could go wrong if you made a challenging decision in your professional life. Well, they happened to Maclaren.

Before arriving in Germany, then-Darmstadt manager Torsten Frings told Maclaren he'd be part of a two-striker system. But once the season got underway, the ex-Germany international decided to play one up-front.

This resulted in Maclaren earning just eight substitute appearances, totalling 174 minutes for the season.

The writing was on the wall in early December when, with the club languishing in the relegation zone, Frings was replaced by Dirk Schuster as manager.

Contrastingly, Hibernian manager Neil Lennon went hard after Maclaren, beating out crosstown rivals, Hearts, for his signature.

The Northern Irishman is hoping Maclaren can replicate his form from when was in Australia, where he bagged 43 goals in 61 outings for Brisbane.

"There are goals in the team and after talking with Neil Lennon, he just wanted to add another dimension as they believe they can get some success in the cup and Europa [League] spots and he likes my movement in and around the box," Maclaren explained.

"But for me it was an easy decision because I want to get happy again and enjoy my football."

Hibernian provides a stable platform for Maclaren to achieve his goal of making the Socceroos World Cup squad for Russia.

Maclaren's father Don was born in Edinburgh, where Hibernian are based, and unlike Darmstadt, the club are currently in fourth place on the Scottish Premiership table and challenging for European qualification.

Everything has seemingly fallen into place for Maclaren despite how difficult the past few months have been.

He is now at a club where he feels wanted, a city that feels like home and he's now been instilled with a steely resolve after his tough stint in Germany.

And it could be an epic debut for him this weekend as Hibernian make the short trip across the city to take on Hearts in the fourth-round of the Scottish Cup.

Andrew Maclean
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Andrew Maclean

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