Stags have dragged themselves up the table from second bottom to have a chance of the play-offs if they can at least hold title-chasing Forest Green Rovers on Saturday.
“It is a huge game ahead, but from where we have come it is unbelievable and an absolute credit to the whole lot of us – and the fans as well, as through that bad run they stuck with us home and away,” said McLaughin, who netted a free kick and a penalty at Salford.
“We have come a long, long way. We are a bit down now as we knew with a win today and another on Saturday we could have done it.
“But if anyone had said we'd reach the play-offs after we played Northampton away, people would have laughed at us - second from bottom.
“Now look at where we are, trying to get promoted and it's a good place to be.
“We are down. But there are worst things happening in the world and this is a game of football.
“Forest Green have slipped up but want to win the championship, so it's going to be a great game.
“We know at home we can beat anybody any time, so we are really looking forward to it.
“Our fans were brilliant today, they out-sung the home fans. They are a credit to themselves and I can't wait for Saturday.”
Stags conceded in the second minute today, fought back to lead, then allowed Salford a second free header to level up.
“First five or 10 minutes of the first half we were sloppy and conceded from a set piece,” said McLaughlin.
“We were told before the game don't give away silly free kicks - and we did and got punished.
“After that I thought we were the better team for the rest of the first half. We looked calm, passed the ball and created chances.”
On his goals, he said: “I just put the free kick in the bottom corner.
“To be fair I couldn't even see the keeper as he was stood behind the wall, so I knew I had a good chance. Get it on target with enough power in it.
“I take penalties in training and I am confident. I just took my time and put it up the middle and I was happy it went in.
“The game was a bit hectic. Salford are a good team and they had to win today so it was always going to be tough.
“But if we had seen out that first 10-15 minutes of the second half I think we'd have gone on to win the game comfortably.”