Jubilation to anguish for Maclaren as World Cup door slams shut


The on-loan striker signed off for the season with a hat-trick for Hibernian in their 5-5 draw with Rangers in the Scottish Premiership overnight, to take his tally to eight goals in 13 games since arriving in the UK.

But celebration quickly turned to exasperation for the 24-year-old, who has excelled since joining Hibs on loan from 2.Bundesliga Darmstadt 98 in January.

Maclaren is Australia’s form forward, with the goals drying up for Tomi Juric in Switzerland and 38-year-old Tim Cahill racking up just 64 goalless minutes during his brief sentimental stint with maiden club Millwall at the back end of the Championship season.

He was justifiably anticipating showing Australia’s Dutch coach what he can do in Turkey, before the bombshell decision to cull him from the 32-man provisional squad was made.

The 26 players bound for Turkey will be officially be announced on Tuesday – 23 of whom will be on the plane to Russia when the final cut comes in early June.

The decision to deny him the chance to flourish face-to-face in the boot camp planned for Antalya from May 19, will leave many fans scratching their heads.

With Maclaren’s treble joy short lived, he will now look to resolve his club future as he refocuses towards January’s 2019 AFC Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

He has two years left on his contract in Germany but having barely featured since signing from Brisbane Roar, Maclaren – who holds a UK passport – is keen to pursue his future in England.

A host of Championship clubs have scouted him in recent weeks, and it’s likely he will seek a release to join a growing number of Australian players in England’s second tier.

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