Even after his first World Cup axing, Jamie Maclaren never stopped believing he might make it to Russia.
The Hibernian striker was a part of Bert van Marwijk's 32-man squad, but wasn't named as part of a lead-up training camp.
So after scoring a hat-trick against Rangers on the last day of the Scottish season, he took off on holidays to Portugal and Dubai with a couple of crucial pieces of luggage.
"It's funny. I did actually bring a pair of boots to Dubai," he said.
"That was sort of gut instinct ... just trying to think and hope this might happen.
"So occasionally I was going to the gym in Dubai. Until you get the call it's butterflies in the stomach, it's hard to explain."
And the call came.
A knee injury to first-choice striker Tomi Juric concerned van Marwijk enough to call in Maclaren from holidays, where he had six days to win the Dutchman over a second time.
A fortnight of holidaying was a less than ideal base for the taxing hot-weather camp.
But the 24-year-old showed enough in training and in half an hour against Czech Republic to convince van Marwijk of his merits and include him in the final 23-man group.
"He pulled me aside in a warm up the first day and he said 'this is your opportunity'," he said.
"He goes, 'forget about what's happened in the last few weeks, I know you'll be a bit disappointed ... you haven't been able to come in as fresh as you've wanted but now you've got six days to really push your case'.
"I think in a few days he did see that I'm a different player to what we've got in the squad. As a coach, you might want options."
Maclaren has been aiming high since his junior days.
"When I left Australia when I was 15 it was always a goal of mine to make the under-20 World Cup," he said.
"I missed the Olympics and you can ask anyone ... I was in tears when we didn't qualify.
"The next target was the World Cup and it's happened and now I've just got to kick on."
And kicking on after a fine goalscoring run in Scotland means game-time in Russia, where Australia confront France, Denmark and Peru in the group stage.
"Every player wants to play," Maclaren said.
"I've had a good six months (and) my confidence is sky high in front of goal.
"I always know that if I have a coach that believes in me, that automatically comes through my system ... I got that feeling off Bert last week because he does see something in me and that as a player gives me instant confidence."