Scotland manager and former Rangers hero Alex McLeish has backed Jack Hendry to turn things around.

McLeish was speaking at his press conference after selecting the 23-year-old in his Scotland squad to face Belgium next week.

Hendry has been going through a rough patch at Celtic. Many supporters believe the former Dundee stopper isn’t of a high enough level to be plying his trade in green-and-white.

Hendry has yet to impress fans since joining Celtic (Matt Browne/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

This has since led to many calls from fans and pundits to get a new centre-back in to partner Kristoffer Ajer

However, McLeish believes that Hendry has the “bottle” for the fight at Parkhead.

We know football and football fans – you make a mistake and they get on your back. That’s the nature of the game. You need to be strong and get that experience. It’s going to happen at sometime and it’s now down to how he reacts to that with performances with Celtic. But I think Jack has the bottle.

Scotland’s centre-back problem

McLeish, 59, will have a strong interest in Hendry’s development. Scotland aren’t blessed with high-quality centre-backs, with the likes of John Souttar also involved in the squad despite his inexperience at a high level.

What Hendry does have, that McLeish will like, is big-game experience. Despite only being at Celtic for not even three quarters of a year, the former Dundee starlet has beaten Rangers twice.

The 23-year-old also has experience of Champions League football throughout the early part of the season.

Alex McLeish is a big fan of Hendry (Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Therefore, despite his inexperience at international level, Hendry does have previous of European football. His performances have left a lot to be desired, but it’s clear that the Scotland manager likes him.

Hendry has already featured for Scotland, making his international debut in the 1-0 win in Hungary last summer.

It remains to be seen whether the towering defender can work his way back into the side. Brendan Rodgers has made no secret of his desire for better quality at the back. Many will feel this is aimed at Hendry, although Rodgers does like the youngster.

There’s still plenty of growth in him, and being exposed to this level of criticism and exposure could do wonders for Hendry.

Regardless, he still has a huge fan in McLeish anyway.

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