McLaren was first team regular from his signing till he was released by the club after a betting scandal involvin four other Pittodrie Players.
Jim Rickaby looks back to 1929 when, with the help of Aberdeen, Kilmarnock won the Cup.
The help came in the shape of Hugh McLaren, the Dons reserve centre-half. McLaren had signed for Aberdeen from Nithsdale Wanderers in 1928 but with stalwart pivot Jock McHale in possession of the No. 5 shirt there seemed to be little prospect of McLaren getting an immediate first team place. However, the second game of the 1928-29 League programme saw Hugh in the First XI at left-half in a home fixture against Queen's Park. Ironically if it were not for injuries he would have made the trip south
with the second string to face Queen's Park Strollers at Hampden, but Hugh McLaren would get his Hampden visit sooner than he could possibly have imagined and it would be in no reserve match either.
Incidentally, on the evening prior to the aforementioned game Aberdeen had secured the services of Frank Hill from Forfar Athletic
despite the keen interest of several top English sides and, although it would take time for manager Travers to realise, the club now had
on its books one of the finest half-back lines ever to grace the Pittodrie turf, Black, McLaren and Hill.
However, that formation was very much in the future although it made a brief appearance in December of 1928 when injuries forced the Dons'
manager to include McLaren and Hill alongside Black against Rangers in a vital League match at Ibrox which Aberdeen lost 2-0. Following that game Frank Hill returned to reserve duty but Hugh McLaren remained in possession of the centre-half spot.
A week prior to the first round of the Scottish Cup the young Don found himself back in the second string and though no one knew it at the time it was a move that eventually led McLaren to Hampden and a Scottish Cup-Winners' badge.
Aberdeen opened their bid for the Cup with a comfortable 5-0 win over Solway Star at Pittodrie. Kilmarnock thrashed Glasgow University 8-1. The second round, a fortnight later, saw the Rugby Park side score an "odd goal in five" victory over Bo'ness while the Dons disposed of Queen's Park at Pittodrie by a 4-0 margin.
Falkirk were the Dons next opponents and the Brockville venue was not to the liking of "the Black and Golds" as it had proved to be something of a bogey ground in the past but Aberdeen scored a fine 5-3 win to reach the last eight. Just along the road at Coatbridge, Killie
found Albion Rovers a bit of a handful but managed to hold on to their slender one goal lead to claim their quarter-final place.
In the quarter-finals the Dons conceded a last minute goal at Love Street to go under 4-3 to St. Mirren but Kilmarnock came out victors in a tough 3-2 thriller at Stark's Park.
Curiously, the two clubs met a week later in the Second XI Cup when Kilmarnock ended Aberdeen's hopes in the reserve trophy. Ironically, Hugh McLaren had been reinstated to the First XI on that very day!
It was then that events took a turn to the centre-half's advantage.
With seven days until their semi-final meeting with Celtic. Kilmarnock's regular pivot, Dunlop, was on the injured list and had little prospect of turning out for the Ayrshire Club for a considerable spell. By chance, Aberdeen met Celtic at Parkhead at that time and McLaren was outstanding in a hard fought draw and the Rugby Park "spies" at the game approached the Dons with a view to securing Hugh on a "loan" basis. Recognising the needs of both clubs, an agreement was reached whereby the player joined Killie for Cup-ties only. Hugh McLaren took the field for Kilmarnock against Celtic at Ibrox in the. Scottish Cup semi-final on 23rd March 1929. The game was 23 minutes old when Weir beat Celts international goalkeeper John Thomson with a brilliant first time drive. Despite the strenuous efforts of the Glasgow side's forwards the Killie defence turned in a superb performance and Weir's first half goal proved to be the winner.
Their reward was a Final place against Rangers on the 6th April 1929 and once again the defence played its part in a fine 2-0 victory in which Kilmarnock goalkeeper Clemie saved a penalty with the scores level and Rangers' Buchanan was sent off in the dying minutes.
So that is the story of how Aberdeen helped Kilmarnock to their second Scottish Cup success, A week later another Don. wrote another chapter in the "Hampden story" when Alec Cheyne played for Scotland against "the Auld Enemy" in a match which is now known simply as the "Cheyne International". Where was Hugh McLaren that
day? In the Dons reserves of course playing against St. Johnstone!
Source: The Don, 7th February 1981
Died - Littleborough, 8th March 1971