The man known as â00Mighty Mouseâ00 played in all four Tests as the Lions recorded their only-ever series victory in New Zealand 38 years ago before again being an ever-present as the Lions beat the Springboks four years later.
McLaughlan never tasted series defeat as a Lion and he is desperate to see the class of 2009 experience the success he and his team-mates achieved in the early seventies.
While McLaughlan is certain that the experience of winning a Test series with the Lions would be a career highlight for any individual, he believes that the significance of this particular tour makes victory even more important for the Lions family as a whole.
"The Lions have got to win this series, thereâ00s no doubt about that," said McLaughlan, who made 30 appearances for the Lions overall.
"For the future of the British & Irish Lions, itâ00s a must."
Ian McLaughlan (far right) tasted series success in South Africa in 1974
The reasoning behind such a bold statement comes from the outcomes of the two most-recent tours, particularly the tour of New Zealand in 2005.
The Lions have not won a series since 1997 and McLaughlan feels the humbling whitewash by the All Blacks last time out has left the Lions with a tarnished reputation.
"I was in New Zealand in 2005 and it was embarrassing," added the 67-year-old.
"It did not go well. I think serious lessons will have been learnt. It got to ludicrous stages â00 the New Zealanders were certainly laughing at us. It was horrible.
"This is a series thatâ00s there to be won. South Africa are very capable of playing really good rugby, but itâ00s always a case of how much rugby you are allowed to play. You have to put pressure on them up front. If these Lions donâ00t do that they can forget it.
"This is a chance to resurrect the Lions brand around the world by winning a Test series for the first time in 12 years. The Lions series is the big thing for the Springboks and theyâ00ll be going all out to win it â00 especially after what happened in 1997."