Has Brendan found Celtic’s Ten in a Row central defence partnership?

ARE we about to see the emergence of a new centre defence partnership at Celtic? Kristoffer Ajer has now established himself as a first pick for the defence and Jack Hendry, has started to pick up starts himself. Both have just made impressive international debuts and both are on contracts to remain at the club to take us through to Ten in a Row.

Darren O’Dea and club Ambassador Davie Hay, in his excellent newspaper column, consider the merits of Hendry and the former Celtic boss develops his thoughts to suggest that there is a partnership coming together that could be successful at the heart of the Celtic defence for seasons to come…

DARREN O’DEA ON former team-mate Jack Hendry

“Jack is borderline arrogant! He has an ego, but top players need it. You need it at a club like Celtic and, believe me. when things don’t go right there you will need all that bravado.

“I probably had it when I was his age. I thought I could beat the world and thought no-one was right but me. That drive you had and that focus, as long as it is on the right side, can be fantastic, it can be a massive strength and he certainly has a lot of belief in himself.

“I love players who make comments like that, but as long as they back it up. He is at a fantastic club, but a lot of credit needs to go to Dundee, who gave him a chance when he had stalled a bit for whatever reason.

“I hopes he goes on and has a good career with Scotland. He is young enough and he has got everything you would want in a modern-day centre-back. It is how much he wants it and wants to improve. If you can’t improve at a club like Celtic, you won’t improve anywhere.”

DAVIE HAY in his newspaper column on Hendry and Ajer

“The one thing that both have in common – and I think really augers well for their respective careers – is their mental approach to the game.

“Hendry was released by Celtic as a kid and for many that is a rejection that is very difficult to get over. But he pulled himself up by the bootstraps and clearly made a decision that he was going to work his socks off to get to the highest level that he could – and it has worked.

“That tells you something about his mentality.

“Ajer was brought to Celtic, a new culture, a club he would have known very little about, a place he would have known no-one and just as he arrived the guy who signed him, a fellow-countryman, was gone.

“To be a teenager in a foreign culture and be mature enough to not just stick at it, but be open enough to go out on loan to another club knowing that it would enhance your chances, is something you have to applaud.

“What those two have shown off the park would suggest to me that they have something about them. On the pitch, too, they have both impressed me.

“They seem to have combined the modern elements of defending, of being able to play the ball out and be calm in possession with the more traditional elements that come with playing at the back.”

“I thought Hendry was very composed when he was introduced to the fray at Ibrox earlier this month and he just seems like a boy who is quietly confident of his own capabilities.

“Ajer has taken his chance when he got it and you would have to say that both of them look like outstanding prospects for the future given the fact that Jack is 22 and Kristoffer is 19. There will be plenty more to come from them.

‘I want to be here for 10-in-a-row,’ magical words from Scotty Sinclair

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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