Alexander "Sandy" McLaren

Alexander "Sandy" McLaren is normally shown as born in the Perthshire village of Tibbermore. Alternatively his birth is given as Perth itself. In truth it was neither. The actual place was Tulloch, now within the city's boundaries but then in open country-side between village and then town. His mother was from rural Madderty, his father from Perth itself, working at Pullars, its nationally-known Cleaners and Dyers with several works, the latest just down the hill. 

And it was with the Tulloch junior team that Sandy began, to be signed by St.Johnstone at just sixteen, a first-team regular eighteen months later and called up and playing for Scotland at just eighteen. In part it was because the SFA President, Bob Campbell, was St. Johnstone Chairman but it makes him still Scotland's youngest ever 'keeper.  

In fact the strapping McLaren (He stood six feet one tall) seems to have matured early in several ways. At nineteen he married, to a girl originally from Crieff, Christian Garrow, who worked as a bus conductor. The wedding took place in Dundee. They had their first child the following year in 1931, the first of four, three born in Perth and one in Leicester. And the reason for the latter was that after five season's at his home-town club, which saw over two hundred starts, relegation and re-promotion and two more caps making five in all, in 1933 he moved South to Filbert St., officially for a dozen years, because of the World War II effectively for seven and a further two hundred and fifty or so appearances. 

During the War-years Sandy and family returned to Perth. His and Christian's fourth child was born there as he served in the Royal Navy and made the occasional appearance not for St. Johnstone but Morton and Airdrieonians. And it would be for The Saints for a season and half post-hostilities that at thirty-five he finished his career, then to work as a policeman at the Naval stores-depot still in the city. Moreover, it was also in St. John's Toun he was to die, at just forty-nine, of bronchial pneumonia, outlived by his wife by almost four decades. She would die still locally aged ninety in 1999.

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