Jamie Maclaren declared it his ‘proudest moment in a football jersey’ after scoring a treble for the Caltex Socceroos against Nepal.
The Melbourne City striker had one international goal to his name heading into the FIFA World Cup qualifying clash at GIO Stadium in Canberra, a strike against Palestine in the AFC Asian Cup 2019.
The 26-year-old got off to a dream start on his 14th cap, scoring twice inside 20 minutes with a pair of poacher’s efforts from inside the six-yard box.
With the clock ticking past 90, Maclaren completed his hat-trick by lashing in Australia’s fifth from Jackson Irvine’s chest pass and he admits he never stopped believing it was possible.
“My proudest moment in a football jersey,” Maclaren said.
“Representing my country in Canberra, scoring a hat-trick as a striker it’s the best feeling.
“I owe a lot to my teammates and the manager for putting faith.
“At times you question yourself ‘are you good enough at this level’? And I feel I am, I have believed through those tough years.”