During this time he also made his debut for Scotland, against Norway on 4 June 1963, and in his third appearance for Scotland, against Spain on 13 June 1963, scored one of the goals in a 6–2 win. He made a total of 168 Football League appearances for Leicester.
In October 1964, he was signed by Arsenal for a club record £80,000 and went straight into the first team. McLintock spent the next nine seasons with the Gunners, moving from midfield to centre half. He was a first-choice player throughout, and became the club's captain in 1967, and would go on to skipper the club during their period of success under Bertie Mee. He reached another two League Cup finals (losing both, in 1968 and 1969), and became so disheartened he handed in a transfer request in 1969. Arsenal manager Bertie Mee managed to persuade him to stay, and McLintock went on to win three major trophies in the space of two years.
He spent four seasons at Loftus Road, and was part of the side that qualified for the UEFA Cup after finishing a close second to Liverpool in 1975–76. McLintock made a total of 127 League appearances for QPR. He finally retired from the game in the 1977 close season. In all, he played over 700 times for his three clubs combined. He was made an MBE in 1972.
After retiring from playing, he joined his old club Leicester City as manager in 1977. However, he endured a difficult time in charge, and City went through a spell where they had one win in 26 matches.