'It was going to come' - Goalscorer Maclaren had no doubts of his ability

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The striker has been heavily criticised for his performances in green and gold but finally hit the back of the net for the first time

After nine Socceroos caps and no goals, critics were starting to get on the back of Jamie Maclaren.

But the Hibernian striker never doubted his ability and managed to snare his first international goal in Australia's comprehensive 3-0 win over Palestine in the Asian Cup.

It was a traditional centre-forward's goal too - with Maclaren deftly heading Tom Rogic's cross into the corner to get the green and gold off the mark in the 18th minute.

"It's been a long time coming. I've stayed on my path and kept working," Maclaren said post-match.

"I know I'm a goalscorer. It was going to come one way or another."

The strike was a timely one as calls to drop the 25-year-old rang loudly following his quiet display in the 1-0 defeat to Jordan in the Socceroos' opening group game.

Maclaren revealed criticism of certain aspects of his game hadn't affected him and he believes the performance against Palestine signifies a positive tournament ahead for Australia.

"Many people say I can't head the ball and today I showed them," he said.

"[The performance] wasn't relieving because we knew what we had to do today - win the game.

"Straight from the start we scored two early goals and that really settles us.

"It was a great win by the boys and we go on from here."

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Maclaren's goal likely earns him another start in the green and gold's final group game is against Syria in Al Ain on Wednesday (AEDT), but with fellow striker Apostolos Giannou also scoring and Andrew Nabbout returning from injury, there is no room for complacency.

A win versus the Syrians will guarantee Australia second position in the group behind Jordan but it is possible they could draw or even lose the match and still go through to the knockouts as four third-placed teams also qualify.

 

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