Jack Hendry gave Celtic something to think about last night

By Euan Davidson

June 3, 2021

Imagine you were Celtic defender Jack Hendry.

You’ve not played in the Green and White since a single appearance in the 19-20 season. For all intents and purposes, it looked like your time with Celtic was absolutely done. You agree to a loan spell in Australia, and are almost immediately cut down with a serious injury.

So, subsequently, you get shipped out to Belgium, for a club who’d likely be battling relegation. To come out of that situation being the league’s Player of the Year [Sport Voetbal], in Scotland’s Euro 2020 squad and linked with big moves elsewhere [90mins] is remarkable.

Two days ago, we shared a report from 90mins, claiming that Oostende had taken up the option to sign Jack Hendry permanently. Again, in that piece, I argued that Jack Hendry struggled at Celtic, and his vast improvement was a surprise to anyone associated with the club. It’s not often, these days that you see a player make strides at 25, 26.

Last night, Hendry grabbed the headlines for Scotland. Opening the scoring in an impressive 2-2 draw against the Netherlands, the former Dundee man didn’t look out of place. So, should Celtic be reassessing their options here? And, can they?

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Despite reports, it’s still feasible that Celtic have the upper hand, here. Hendry has a year left on his deal with us, but Oostende have first dibs should the Bhoys decide to cut the defender loose. That’s according to the BBC, whereas other reports seem to suggest Oostende are in the driving seat, having agreed a fee in advance. That, assumedly, gives Oostende the option to buy Hendry without having to negotiate with Celtic. It’s a needlessly confusing situation.

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Having made quite the impression for Oostende, it’s possible Hendry would accept terms from the Belgian outfit. But if he has designs on repairing his club reputation in Scotland, he’ll surely reject any offer. For his part, Hendry told the BBC four days ago:

“I don’t know where I’ll be next season – what will be will be.

“Obviously I’m concentrating on being with Scotland and letting those things happen with my representatives and the clubs.”

“I’ve been in the situation before where I’ve been linked with clubs, so I’m not concentrating on that at all.”

Scotland man Jack Hendry celebrates / (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images)

Who holds the cards?

More performances for Scotland like last night, albeit, hopefully conceding fewer goals collectively, could earn Hendry a move to a host of clubs around Europe. There’s reported interest from the likes of Leeds United in the Premier League. Having already enjoyed a stint at Wigan, it may appeal.

But who’ll be selling him, should it happen? It seems Hendry would need to agree a move to Oostende, then another move elsewhere, if he wanted to take that route. Or, if he’s desperate to leave, he could just return to Celtic, his parent club. Given how quickly Hendry ended up being discarded, he may feel slighted by Celtic, after all.

Ultimately, it’s Hendry who has the agency here. While he’s not getting distracted, the Scotland defender will surely have his next move in the back of his mind.

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