Scotland bounced back from a 32-3 defeat in Nice to beat France 17-14 at BT Murrayfield on Saturday with an almost entirely new line-up.
The away loss sparked pessimism from outside over their World Cup hopes and every player, whether they featured or not, felt the pain.
They will now look to keep that winning momentum going as they prepare to end their World Cup warm-ups with a double-header against Georgia.
Maitland, who scored his 12th try in his 41st Scotland appearance, said: “We were hard on ourselves as well. We went to a few dark places last week and I thought the boys prepared outstanding.
“I know it was a different 15, which was always going to happen, but to play at home in front of our fans and to get the win for us and everyone involved was special.
“We know it’s just the start, we know it’s a stepping stone. Playing away from home, it’s going to be another challenging game, I think it’s 33 degrees in Georgia. So nothing changes.
“But whoever is selected, I’m sure the momentum is going to be with us and we just have to keep pushing each other. It’s one step at a time.”
Scotland conceded a try inside two minutes for the third game running and trailed by two tries before the half-hour mark, but tries from Maitland and Chris Harris and the kicking of Greig Laidlaw overturned the deficit.
And Maitland believes the nature of the victory was a major step forward, ahead of this weekend’s game in Tbilisi.
“We have been in those sort of positions before, probably against Ireland in the last Six Nations where we have fallen behind and not really come back and given it a big shot,” the Saracens player said.
“But it was pleasing to get over the line and grind out a win and especially show a reaction from the previous week.
“We didn’t panic. If you look at the tries, one came from an intercept and one from a turnover. If you look at the whole game, we were pretty solid. I was really happy with the way the boys defended.”
World Cup city guide: Fukuoka
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.