Why the Celtic departure of Jack Hendry suits all parties
In the end, the most likely result for Celtic, Jack Hendry and KV Oostende happened.
The ex-Dundee and Wigan man has left the Bhoys permanently. During a loan spell that was meant to regain some reputation, fitness and first-team football, Hendry became a Scotland international. Even now, typing ‘Scotland international’ feels incongruous. When he left Celtic for either of his loan spells, that seemed like only a remote possibility.
But some realism is needed here; he would’ve probably had to have been even better in Belgium to justify starting for Celtic any time soon. When he was with us, he looked utterly bereft of confidence. Long passes would just float over him. He’d play the ball into dangerous situations, and when Boyata controversially missed a Champions League qualifier against AEK Athens, Hendry’s lack of top level experience showed.
This isn’t to say he’s a useless player. Or, that he can’t go on to have an excellent career. At 26, time is on his side, and if he earns a move to a top 5 league, then fair play to him and all the best.
But against the Czech Republic for Scotland, and in a limited sample size for Celtic, he didn’t quite look up to it. There’s a panicky tendency to him, and fundamental issues in his game that, at his age, should really have been ironed out by this point.
There’ll be panic, but Celtic and Jack Hendry both needed to move on
Put it this way; if we signed two centre-backs to the standard of, say, Christopher Jullien, would you play Jack Hendry? Hand on heart, I’m not sure I would.
If he’d stayed at Celtic, he’d want first-team football. That stands to reason, especially after his exploits in Belgium. He was a top magazine’s Player of the Year, after all [Sport Voetbal]. And while he could’ve had a pre-season to prove himself again in the Hoops, did he want to have to do that? It seems unlikely.
Hendry has proven he doesn’t necessarily need Celtic. In the same way that, before he left on either of his last two loans, the club proved they didn’t necessarily need him. That just happens sometimes. The player needed to move on, and if Celtic were particularly fussed about keeping him, there wouldn’t have been a sell-on fee that looks minuscule in hindsight.
Nobody at the club really expected that Jack Hendry would be a big “What if?” this summer. It’d be revisionist to say otherwise. His stock is high, now, and the cauldron that is Glasgow might not be that tempting to a player who’s made strides elsewhere, and doesn’t want to audition for the job he already had.
So, yes: there’s reasonable panic about our ability to command fees for our players. There’s also more than worthy anxiety about our defensive options going into 21-22. But on the face of it, Celtic can’t really be too gutted about this.
Jack Hendry certainly won’t be.