Exclusive: Belgian football expert on the unlikely revival of Celtic outcast Jack Hendry

By Euan Davidson

February 20, 2021

Celtic outcast Jack Hendry has had quite the season in Belgium.

The Oostende star has been, of all things, incredibly reliable in the Jupiler Pro League. His performances have helped the comparatively small Belgian side rocket to a top 4 place. Meanwhile, the Celtic loanee has been linked to a number of clubs across the UK and Europe.

It’s quite the turnaround for a central defender who inspired so little confidence for the Bhoys.

67 Hail Hail’s Hamish Carton spoke exclusively to Junior Verbeeke, Belgian football journalist for Nieuwsblad. Verbeeke gave us some context on Hendry’s role at a club on the up. He told 67 Hail Hail:

“Last year Oostende had a very difficult season, with some cash flow problems. They had to look for new owners. Oostende was a bit of a question mark this season. They got new owners, American owners, and they are using a database system to do transfers.

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“Jack Hendry is on loan, but he was a bit of an opportunity. At Celtic he wasn’t playing, then he had an injury. Of course, he won the league title 2 times at Celtic, played Europa League, Cup… so on a sporting basis, there was enough to get him.

“A few months later, he’s one the key players. He’s won the most aerial duels in the whole league. Now they’re 4th in the league, which is a huge surprise. Jack is 25, and he’s one of the most experienced players.”

Jack Hendry is aiming for a Euro 2020 spot / (Photo by Andy BUCHANAN / AFP)

Celtic exile Jack Hendry doing himself plenty of favours

With clubs across the continent looking to snap Hendry up, his character and conduct have helped. While he seems determined not to be distracted by speculation, his performances on and off the pitch have won him fans in the press.

That includes Verbeeke, who told us:

“I spoke to him a few times, he’s a lovely lad, who’s very fluent. He’s not reserved. That’s the atmosphere at Oostende, if we have a press conference, it’s not really a press conference. You just walk in the training centre, you wait, and then you sit in a corner with a player somewhere. It’s not really official.

“There will be interest from other clubs. He’s one of the best defenders in Belgium right now, in my opinion. If he stays fit, which is a little bit of a question mark… he’s going to be somewhere else next season. Oostende have a little bit more money, they can pay the €2m I think.

“But I think if Jack keeps playing like this… his value is going to raise, with his ambition. There is interest from English teams, maybe Celtic wants him back after this season. It’d be strange if there was no interest from Belgian teams. His profile is really interesting.”

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