Rarely-used Celtic man Jack Hendry's ambitious Scotland hope

By David Walton

December 23, 2020

Celtic centre-back Jack Hendry is hoping to cap his career renaissance with a call-up to Scotland’s Euro 2020 squad.

Hendry has been revitalising his declining career in Belgium this season, where he’s been a standout for KV Oostende. So far this season, the big defender has made 12 appearances. He’s even bagged himself a goal against Marian Shved’s KV Mechelen.

In all but one of those games has Hendry played the full 90 minutes. That’s bound to please Neil Lennon, as regular game-time will have been the goal this season.

However, despite not once being called up for Scotland under Steve Clarke, Hendry now thinks he’s got a chance. With the Tartan Army heading to their first major tournament since 1998, everyone will be vying for a spot in the squad.

And speaking to KV Oostende’s official website, Jack clearly thinks he’s got a shot.

Well, that is something that I cannot control myself. It would of course be a dream to one day experience a tournament with Scotland, especially when you know that they do not qualify for every championship. 

“So this European Championship is an opportunity, but I can only do my best and perform constantly, and then the decision is in the hands of the national coach.

“It may help that I am now active in the Belgian league. That one is more highly regarded than the Scottish. In Scotland, you mainly have Celtic and recently Rangers again, but the Pro League is much stronger in width.”

Hendry’s only goal should be impressing Celtic boss Lennon

If I’m to give my own personal brutal verdict, Hendry can forget it. Not because he isn’t playing well or because the standard of league is poor, but Clarke clearly isn’t interested.

Had he been on the Scotland manager’s radar, he would’ve been called up this season. Clarke had three opportunities to give Hendry a call in September, October, and November. The Celtic man didn’t receive one. It’s difficult to see that changing.

You would imagine that Clarke will largely be going for the players that got Scotland to Euro 2020. Given it’s our first major tournament in 22 years, you can understand why Hendry is eager. But even so, it would be unfair on the players who got us there to be shut out. So long as they’re in form of course.

Celtic centre-back Jack Hendry in action for KV Oostende (Photo by KURT DESPLENTER/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

Hendry, used only once by Neil Lennon in an 11-minute Betfred Cup cameo vs Partick Thistle, hasn’t played for Scotland since October 2018. All three caps have come in experimental friendlies too. All three were also under Alex McLeish.

There won’t be many of those for Clarke to chuck Hendry in for before the Euros. In truth, his only real goal should be to impress Lennon this season. The most obvious route back into the Scotland set-up has to be via the Celtic team.

Ensuring he makes enough of an impact that he gets a chance next pre-season? That has to be the aim. It seems to be going well for Jack in Belgium however. He’s playing regularly and impressing – that’s all Lennon will have wanted to see.

In other news, Lennon has disclosed his classy Saturday call to a sacked Premiership manager.