Jack Hendry has posted a message on Instagram bigging up KV Oostende’s superb achievement of bagging a top five place in the Belgian First Division A this season.
Oostende secured an impressive late comeback win away to Koninklijke Beerschot yesterday to secure fifth place and a spot in Belgium’s European playoffs
The Belgian First Division A format has changed this term. The regular season sees teams play 34 fixtures with those who finish in the top four splitting into a mini-league to determine who wins the title and qualifies for the Champions League. Teams who finish 5th to 8th will compete for a chance to play against the team who finishes fourth in the play-offs to then see who qualifies for the European Conference League.
As the league stands just now, Oostende are three points behind fourth-placed Anderlecht with one league game reamining. Anderlecht also boast a goal-difference that’s eight higher than Hendry’s side. Therefore, breaking into the Champions League playoff group looks optimistic at best.
But Hendry was clearly left buzzing after securing fifth place and a chance to fight for a spot in Europe this season:
Jack Hendry left buzzing with “massive achievement”; Celtic career hangs in the balance
Chances are Hendry’s Oostende will indeed finish fifth. A fine achievement given the fact they haven’t managed to reach those heights since the 2016/17 campaign.
It is, of course, worth nothing that Oostende cannot qualify for either the Champions League or Europa League without finishing in the top four. But a route into the new European Conference League is available to them as an alternative. It would be the first time Oostende have made Europe since competing in the Europa League qualifiers in 2017.
Hendry would undoubtedly love to seal European qualification too. It would bookend a superb finale to his Oostende loan spell ahead of what’s an intriguing return to Celtic Park in the summer.
For Jack’s Celtic career really does hang in the balance. His contract runs until the summer of 2022, meaning he’ll be into the final year of it this season. He’s free to talk to clubs from January onwards regarding a potential free transfer.
The rebuild this summer offers him some hope. Shane Duffy will be heading back to Brighton whilst Chris Jullien is sidelined. Not to mention the fact that Kris Ajer is highly likely to depart. There will be major centre-back shortages this summer, and that’s where Hendry could potentially fill a void.
Pre-season is going to be colossal for him, but he’ll come back in confident mood given his top-five achievement with Ooostende. Let’s see if they can bag European qualification to go along with it.