Jack Hendry’s playing-time this season has gradually gotten less and less, but Wednesday night will be huge for him.
The Celtic centre-back was at the centre of some transfer speculation in January over a loan move. At the time it seemed like the right thing to do, given the fact he was so far down the pecking order at Parkhead. You can also read our piece on why a move should’ve gone ahead here.
Yet, both Filip Benkovic and Dedryck Boyata suffered injuries over the course of January. This has since led to Kristoffer Ajer and Jozo Simunovic becoming the centre-back pairing the Hoops have to go with for now.
But it’s also left Hendry as the only natural centre-back available in the meantime. Rodgers has previously stated that Benkovic’s injury could’ve changed the plan on Hendry going out. Whilst it was never confirmed to be the reason why Hendry did ultimately stay, it’s odd that he wasn’t moved on for a loan spell.
Since the centre-back injuries, Hendry hasn’t appeared in any of the two match-day squads. Only Nir Bitton has been available to play at centre-back from the match-day squad subs.
Does Ajer’s red card change anything for Hendry?
Earlier on this afternoon, however, Ajer was sent off against St Johnstone. It was a clear last-man challenge with no attempt to play the ball, so he’ll surely be out of the Hibernian game on Wednesday.
And, therefore, surely a door is ultimately going to open for Hendry to finally be part of a match-day squad. Nir Bitton will likely start the match against Hibs given he’s been part of recent squads, and Hendry will be the only centre-back available in reserve.
It could be the case that Rodgers instead selects Mikael Lustig as his centre-back cover of course. But that would say a lot about where Rodgers ranks Scotland international Hendry.
Hendry hasn’t been seen in a squad since mid-December. Celtic have had 10 matches since then, as the former Dundee man has been firmly frozen out.
Rodgers has also stated that he expects Boyata to be training with the first-team squad next week. Therefore, this could be a rare chance to see Hendry when Hibs pitch up in Glasgow on Wednesday.
If he isn’t in the squad whatsoever? You have to wonder what the point was in keeping him in the first place.