Scotland defender Jack Hendry revelling in 'exciting times' for club and country
It would be fair to say that the past month has been a memorable, perhaps even transformational one for Jack Hendry.
Moving to Belgium proved the making of the Scotland defender, but his £3.5million summer transfer from Oostende to Club Brugge appears to have elavated his performances for club and country to another level.
A defensive masterclass for the national side in Austria helped convince some of the Tartan Army doubters that the 26-year-old was capable of producing the goods at international level after a disappointing Euros.
Having gone on to put the shackles on Messi, Mbappe and Neymar to earn his club side a point against PSG in the Champions League, Hendry arrived to the latest Scotland camp at the top of his game.
It perhaps wasn't evident in the first half against Israel, but the like the rest of his teammates, he excelled after the break, and played a crucial part in the winning goal to keep Scotland firmly on track for a World Cup playoff.
Just two years after being branded a Celtic flop, things are very much on an upward path.
"It's on a trajectory at the minute and I want to keep it that way," he said. "I've a lot of work to do and a lot of improving to do. Even on Saturday night, I was the only centre-half in that position - KT and McTominay are naturally a left-back and a central midfielder. So it was a position for me that I had to lead the line in there.
"The goals were disappointing but these are exciting times for me - when I go back we've got Manchester City in the Champions League. I've learned so much in these past few games and hopefully that can continue and help the national team as well."
Having been mostly deployed on the right of the Scotland back three, Hendry was moved into the middle to compensate for the suspended Grant Hanley, and to accomodate the return of Scott McTominay, who missed the win in Vienna due to injury.
Hendry insists he is comfortable in either role.
"Anywhere, left right or middle," he said. "On Saturday I was in the middle with two boys who don't normally play there, so there was a bigger responsibility than if I was playing beside two natural centre-halves.
"But I thought they did extremely well and slotted into it brilliantly. I played in the centre for most of the season last year at Oostende, so I was comfortable there."
Having had a rough journey to reach this point, Hendry was enjoy the acclaim of the Hampden crowd on Saturday.
"It's difficult to describe because of the atmosphere at the end, it was amazing," he said. "The fans have waited a long time to see something like that and there's nothing better than a last-minute winner. We made it difficult for ourselves with the first-half performance but we showed balls of steel the way we came out in the second-half and put in that kind of performance for the fans. I think we deserved it and got our rewards in the end.”
Now to avoid the comedown in the Faroe Islands: “Tuesday will be a totally different arena and place, and we have to adapt to those surroundings. I'm sure with what we're building in the changing-room we will do that.”
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