Ewan Henderson's return leaves Celtic with a big decision to make

By David Walton

May 11, 2021

Ewan Henderson’s Celtic return will likely go unnoticed, but this summer couldn’t be any more important for the youngster.

Henderson graduated from Celtic’s youth academy in 2019 after making his Celtic debut in a 4-1 win against Motherwell. However, fast forward two years and it’s fair to say his progress has stalled.

The attacker only played one minute for Celtic in the 2019/20 campaign. He was then farmed out on loan to Ross County. As for this year? He was again given three appearances before being sent to Dunfermline [Transfermarkt].

His short two-month spell at the Pars has been a godsend for him. Henderson managed to bag 10 games for the Championship side, with his campaign ending on Saturday when Raith Rovers knocked Dunfermline out of the playoffs.

Now, Henderson is back and only has a year remaining on his contract [Transfermarkt]. A major decision needs to be made this summer, as he looks to try and impress Celtic one final time before his deal expires.

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There will be a temptation to say that we should keep Henderson given both his contract situation and the fact he’s a decent player. He showed as much against Lille in the Europa League back in December.

However, the best thing Celtic could do for Ewan is to find him a Scottish Premiership switch this season. At 21, he still has bags of room to develop, and we could do with finding out whether his poor six-month spell in Dingwall was a one-off.

Henderson has shown in flashes what he can do for Celtic. He hasn’t once been outclassed by Premiership opposition, and it’s therefore the ideal opportunity for the Hoops to see if he can cut it one more time elsewhere.

Ewan Henderson battles Nice’s Atal in pre-season / (Photo by JEFF PACHOUD / AFP) (Photo by JEFF PACHOUD/AFP via Getty Images)

If, for example, the attacking-midfielder went to Aberdeen and shone under Stephen Glass, that would likely be enough to see Celtic extend his contract further and give him a chance to prove himself here. That’s the kind of opportunity we need to find for Hendo after he clearly proved he’s a cut above Championship level.

Granted, this comes with some risks. Given he’s going to be into the final 12 months of his contract, an impressive season could attract attention from elsewhere. Other options could arise for Henderson and Celtic wouldn’t be able to stop him from leaving permanently next summer.

But it’s a risk worth taking. It’s hardly a surreal gamble given Henderson won’t exactly be eating up big wages. Let’s give him one final shot in the top flight and see if he can produce the goods. It’s certainly going to be a big year for the academy graduate.

In other news, Celtic fans are going to be feeling much better about life in around three months.