Bryan Prunty: 104 goals and counting

Bryan Prunty, who has bulged the nets of Glasgow’s big three stadiums, last month became a goal-scoring centurion when he struck for Airdrie against Forfar.

Bryan Prunty, right, after scoring Inverness' first-ever goal at Ibrox in 2005. Picture: Robert Perry
Bryan Prunty, right, after scoring Inverness' first-ever goal at Ibrox in 2005. Picture: Robert Perry

The 32-year-old was developed in the youth ranks at Celtic, but Airdrie is home and it was fitting that after goals for Aberdeen, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Ayr United, Alloa and Dumbarton, number 100 came in Lanarkshire, literally right in front of the eyes of Prunty’s son, Liam.

Prunty said: “I was with Celtic as a youngster and it was hard getting dropped by them. My time there had interesting bookends as I was signed on my 16th birthday and left on my 21st. I could not compete with John Hartson, Chris Sutton and Henrik Larsson for a starting place, but I gave it a good try.

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“Steve Paterson took me up to Aberdeen and I scored my first senior goal at Kilmarnock for them back in 2004. It was 
probably my scrappiest ever goal but it was a relief to get it.”

Prunty’s second goal helped Aberdeen grab headlines, as he explained: “It was in a win for Aberdeen at Celtic that came out of nowhere. We were struggling in the league, they had gone 77 games at home unbeaten and the Aberdeen side was full of kids.

“There was only Paul Sheerin and Stevie Tosh with any experience and I came on for Tosher midway through the first half.”

Prunty added: “Henrik had given Celtic the lead, but I scored the equaliser and David Zdrilic netted the winner. Unfortunately, Aberdeen were not the club that they are now and it was a difficult time as we finished second bottom and I moved on to Inverness.”

Prunty was then a record breaker with the Highlanders. 
“I scored Inverness’ first-ever goal at Ibrox and it secured their first-ever point there. Barry Ferguson had given Rangers the lead and I came on and grabbed an equaliser.”

Again Prunty moved on quickly. “My wife and I are both from Airdrie and we wanted to come home. The first season with Airdrie was great and I scored 15 times in a really competitive First Division. That was the same number that Jason Scotland scored and he was away to the World Cup at the end of that season.”

After three seasons as a 
Diamond, Prunty ventured to Ayr. “I helped Ayr get promoted at the expense of Airdrie. We had been 2-0 down in the play-off final to them, but Mark 
Roberts scored twice to turn things around and Ryan Stevenson scored the winner in the second leg. I scored a hat-trick against Queen’s Park that season and to have netted at the three big grounds in Glasgow is pretty good going.”

Prunty added: “The following season I joined Stirling Albion on loan and they are the only club I have not scored for, but I only played in three games for them. I then joined Alloa, who were involved in a title race with Stirling that they won on goal difference.

“I enjoyed working with Allan Maitland and the next season we were in contention for promotion until Christmas. However, after that we fell away and ended up being relegated via the play-offs.”

Prunty was in demand again, as he explained: “I moved on to Dumbarton and helped them get promoted by scoring 18 goals, and needless to say it was Airdrie we played in the play-off final.”

After a poor start to life in the higher division, the Sons rallied under new manager Ian Murray and a 3-2 win at Livingston helped their cause and helped Prunty to international stardom.

A stunning overhead kick to open the scoring became an 
internet sensation and Prunty beams: “I think it has had over a quarter of a million views now. It was on Sky Sports really quickly afterwards and was played alongside a goal from Cristiano Ronaldo.

“If my career is to be remembered for one thing then I am quite happy for it to be that, but I did score an overhead kick against Stenhousemuir that was better than that one.”

Prunty returned to Airdrie last August. “I had been sitting on 99 goals for a few weeks and had been regretting mentioning that I was one away from my century. It felt that I was stuck there for ages and then we got the penalty against Forfar.”

No-one else was taking it and Prunty focused on a familiar face behind Rab Douglas’ goal, as he explained: “Liam is a ballboy at Airdrie and always goes behind the goal we are shooting into. I saw him as I lined up to take it and hit the ball in his direction – thankfully the net was there or it would have hit him.

“I am up to 104 now and want to add some more to help 
Airdrie win the play-offs.”