Repaying Graham Arnold's considerable faith in the 25-year-old, Maclaren's perfectly angled header, a subtle redirect of Tom Rogic's cross that evaded the outstretching arm of Rami Hamada, proved the difference against Palestine in more ways than one. 

The Socceroos 3-0 win was comprehensive in every aspect, with Mat Ryan a near-spectator as the 99th ranked nation capitulated to an early Aussie onslaught.

But while Awer Mabil netted the clincher minutes later and Apostolos Giannou, emerging off the bench for an instant impact, showed every ounce of experience and physicality to add a little flair to the scoreline, Maclaren's goal may prove the Socceroos' most important. 

"It's been a long time coming," a very confident, cool and composed-looking Hibernian striker said after the match. 

"I've stayed on my path and kept working, I know I'm a goalscorer. It was going to come one way or another."

Maclaren's confidence echoes that of Arnold, who is renowned for his bravado - sometimes interpreted as arrogance - as he attempts to psychologically exert the best performances from his players.

It's a strategy that bears mixed success, and Maclaren is the perfect example.

A patchy confidence striker, who has been unable to recover his once-prolific goalscoring form since leaving the A-League, despite showing glimpses of superb ability in Scotland, Maclaren now faces the greatest career opportunity of his life.

The Socceroos seeming-first choice striker, Andrew Nabbout, is similarly unproven as a goalscorer.

Meanwhile, with or without Martin Boyle, Tomi Juric's absence leaves a gaping hole for a natural number nine, a keen finisher who is adept at latching onto crosses, pushing behind defences or constantly affecting the shape of an opposition's backline. 

Arnold clearly favours Maclaren to provide versatility in this position, even with a clear reliance on crosses to score goals.

After a nearly invisible performance against Jordan, the Socceroos gaffer's insistence on persevering in starting Maclaren against Palestine proves the striker's mentality appeals to Arnold's plan.

Now off the goalscoring mark at the 10th time of asking, Maclaren looks set to be the ultimate test of whether Arnie's approach can pay dividends.

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

"It 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."