Caltex Socceroos stalwart Mark Milligan believes he has plenty left to offer new club Hibernian after finally realising his long-held dream of a move to Europe.
The versatile 33-year-old inked a two-year contract with the Scottish Premiership side last month in what was the culmination of an ambition he has harboured throughout a decorated 16-year senior career.
Having bounced between Asia and the Hyundai A-League in recent seasons, Milligan cited his impressive displays at the FIFA World Cup™ in Russia – his fourth trip to the tournament – as providing the confidence needed to make the breakthrough.
"I guess I always had that burning ambition to get across," Milligan said.
"The World Cup was, for me, my body telling me I had quite a lot to give.
"I had a chance when I was younger and my Visa was denied. Then I sort of went along the Asian route, which for an Australian player is logistically a little bit easier.
"When I was younger it was a little bit difficult [to be denied a move to Europe]. But you grow and accept things, and everything happens for a reason.
"I was fortunate enough to be contacted by Hibs quite early after the World Cup, so I was able to look into it. I thought it was a place that I could come and still learn."
The 71-cap veteran sought advice on his decision from international team-mate Jamie Maclaren, who has returned to Hibs on loan after starring with eight goals in the second half of last season.
'FANTASTIC': Maclaren happy to have Milligan on Hibs adventure
Milligan, though, insists the Darmstadt-owned striker did not have to sell him on a move to Easter Road.
"Obviously Jamie had spoken about the club quite a bit during the World Cup anyway, the experiences he had, and that was before he even knew he was coming back," the former Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory man said.
"Once I saw how keen he was to get back, I think that speaks volumes.
"The fact he had such an enjoyable time before, did so well and wanted to be part of the setup again showed it's a special place."
Milligan and Maclaren are far from the only Australians plying their trade in Scotland, with the likes of Celtic pair Tom Rogic and Daniel Arzani, St Mirren loanee Ryan Edwards and Motherwell midfielder Andy Rose all keeping them company.
Ben Garuccio and Oliver Bozanic are across town at rivals Hearts and Milligan is looking forward to facing off in the Edinburgh Derby, joking: "We didn't speak to [Garuccio] in [Caltex Sooceroos] camp!
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"It's something else to look forward to here. I know what a massive stage, what a massive game they are.
"To be able to put one over somebody you have to spend time with coming up is always nice."
They will have to wait until the end of October for that chance, with Milligan first focused on a potential debut at home to Kilmarnock this weekend.
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