Just last week, Plymouth Argyle striker Ryan Hardie spoke openly about his desire to force his way into Steve Clarke’s plans, a senior Scotland call-up the ‘ultimate goal’ for a striker who represented his country at every single level from the Under 16s to the Under 21s. 

And a fifth goal of the new campaign already just a few days later – in only his sixth appearance no less – will certainly have done his chances of catching Clarke’s eye no harm at all. Plymouth former Rangers starlet is currently the top scorer in the whole of England’s second tier. A fact which sounds all the more impressive when you consider that The Pilgrimspromoted back to the Championship just this year – have only two wins to show for their efforts thus far. 

“The step up is obviously going to be a challenge for us,” Ryan Hardie tells Plymouth Live, his typically well-taken finish against pacesetters Preston North End little more than a consolation in the end.

“We saw on Saturday, if you go 2-0 down, you are going to struggle to get back into games.” 

ryan hardie plymouth argyle
Photo by David Horton – CameraSport via Getty Images

Fortunately, with the division’s most in-form marksman leading the line, plucky Plymouth will always give themselves a puncher’s chance. 

Former Rangers striker can’t stop scoring in England

A prolific goalscorer in youth football at Rangers, Hardie has certainly found a loving home on the south coast after mixed spells at Blackpool, Livingston, Raith Rovers and more. Since the start of 2021/22, the late-blooming poacher has scored 41 goals in all competitions. If he can replicate last season’s tally of 17, then Plymouth’s return to the Championship stage is likely to be more than a mere flying visit. 

With five in six appearances already, the prospect of Hardie breaking the 20-goal barrier for the first time in his senior career cannot be discounted either. Especially after being handed a more natural centre-forward role alongside the creativity of Bali Mumba and Morgan Whittaker. 

“The system change is a lot to do with (my current form),” Hardie adds. “I’m playing a bit of a new role for the team. I’m learning it and hopefully I’m only going to get better at it.

“It’s six games in, we are learning the league, we are learning the new shape, we are learning as a team. So hopefully we can keep on growing, and I will keep on growing as a player in the penalty box.”

Related Topics