Hip and back problems meant Maloney missed the majority of the season with the Latics and he was also absent for Scotland's recent run of good form under Gordon Strachan.
"Even the last time I was in the squad you could feel a change in terms of the belief and it's carried on over the season," Maloney said.
"The manager works hard on the shape of the team and the time we spend with him in training is very tactical in terms of shape. The players go out there and know their job.
"The games I've watched and played under him for Scotland we've just been harder to beat."
Strachan's side have registered four consecutive clean sheets and Maloney believes the team's resilience stems from a collective sense of responsibility.
"I don't think there is a player in our team that we can afford not to have working or tracking back," he said.
"Nobody is good enough to be a luxury player and I don't think this manager would stand for that anyway.
"We're taught all week exactly what he wants from us and then it's up to us to apply that over the course of a match."
Scotland's friendly against Nigeria is their last scheduled fixture before their opening Euro 2016 qualification match against Germany on September 7.
Assistant manager Mark McGhee is hoping his players can continue their unbeaten run at Fulham's ground in London but insists delivering another strong performance is the first priority.
"It's really important that we maintain a level of performance," McGhee said.
"That's one of the things that's pleased me regardless of results - of course results are everything and they are going to be critical when it comes to qualifying for Euro 2016.
"But a consistent level of performance brings results so it's important we end this season in the same sort of tone.
"If we play the same type of football against Nigeria with the energy and enthusiasm we've been playing with, I think we'll get the right result."