Case for the Defence: Jack Hendry

Jack Hendry copped some flak last night after a misplaced pass led to Rosenborg countering and scoring. It was a lapse in concentration but was in no way directly attributed to conceding a goal.

Hendry had the ball deep in the Rosenborg half before attempting to play a simple sideward pass; unfortunately it was cut out and the Norwegians broke for a rare attack. The ball was in the middle when Tierney and Brown were stranded as Rosenborg progressed. Gamboa was caught out of position as Bendtner cut inside and goal scorer ran off him before nestling the ball into the corner. There were numerous chances for Celtic to recover possession from Hendry’s mistake; alas, we didn’t.

Hendry is 23. He is in a vital stage for his development and his attributes speak for themselves: strong, fast and good in the air, so why are fans so eager to get on his back?

The truth is that Hendry represents a poor purchase by some fans, they wanted a new central defender that would help progress in Europe and instead got a Dundee player. Supporters wanted a quick fix ahead of a project. Marvin Compper was supposed to be that, but he’s been put out to pasture by injuries, so Hendry is lined up for stick. The fact he is inexperienced as he has played south of 70 competitive fixtures since his breakthrough at Partick Thistle doesn’t help his cause as he can often rush himself and make a mistake – as seen yesterday.

This is a valid view point, how can the team progress if we’re still developing some players around us?

My theory is that Brendan wanted him to come to Celtic as part of his development, perhaps he wouldn’t have thrust him into the limelight but with World Cup runs, suspensions and injuries leaving Hendry is one of only two fit central defenders, he had no choice. Perhaps the manager didn’t want Hendry exposed to being on the back foot, at a bottom six side like Dundee, where the necessity to defend ugly could have corrupted his game when he had the attributes to learn, develop and play in the mould of a ball-playing defender at Celtic.

Another factor that has gone against Hendry is that he’s been played on the right side of defence in a 3 or pushing him out to right back in some games. A gulf in class is enough to contend with but throw a new position into the equation and Hendry has the odds stacked against him. However, he’s not disgraced himself in a Celtic jersey and has continued to work hard for the manager in the hope of becoming a mainstay in the side. A vital challenge in the dying minutes at Ibrox sticks out in my mind and there will be others in the past and the future. Hendry is trusted by the manager and needs to learn from the experience around him – such as Kolo Toure and Dedryck Boyata.

Rodgers was complimentary towards the former Celtic youth player after playing Dundee and enjoys the development of youth players, if the manager trusts him then that’s good enough for me to back him, along with the fact he’s a Celtic player.

Last night, after his error, Jack Hendry was steady and his second half performance was impressive. He was solid in defence and confident in possession, which will hopefully help his progression into a good centre back for the club.  I believe that he has a lot to offer the team given some time and patience.

By the Celtic Follower

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who 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

1 Comment

  1. i fully agree r.e Jack Hendry. It’s great to eventually read an article in support of the young lad.

    Possesses all the attributes to have a fabulous career with Celtic and Scotland. There is no doubt about that.

    HH Jack