Kilmarnock: Callum Hendry speaks on Derek McInnes appointment as contract nears end

Callum Hendry did Derek McInnes a good turn last season when his header against Kilmarnock brought Aberdeen’s record-breaking goal famine to a blessed end.

Callum Hendry wants to cement a place in the Kilmarnock starting XI.
Callum Hendry wants to cement a place in the Kilmarnock starting XI.

Now somewhat surprisingly reunited at the Rugby Park club, Hendry wants to keep in the new manager’s good books and secure a new deal with Kilmarnock.

McInnes wasn’t given the chance to ponder whether to try and keep Hendry, who joined on loan from St Johnstone, at Aberdeen. The manager was sacked in March and replaced by Stephen Glass.

Hendry agreed another loan deal, this time at Kilmarnock, in August after accepting his time at St Johnstone was up. He is out of contract in the summer.

Derek McInnes has taken over at Kilmarnock after the departure of Tommy Wright.

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McInnes’ arrival has given him a boost and he hopes to continue proving his worth. He has already scored five times in 13 appearances for his latest club and is confident the new manager’s arrival can spur Kilmarnock on to promotion.

While he is careful to point out that he still holds Tommy Wright, who signed him for St Johnstone, in high regard, he has noted a “different buzz around the place” since McInnes’ arrival earlier this week.

Things had become “stale” under Wright he observed. After four defeats in their last seven league games, Kilmarnock have fallen to fourth place in the Championship. McInnes will make his bow against Queen of the South at Palmerston Park this afternoon.

“Obviously he took me to Aberdeen last year so he sees something in me,” said Hendry “That fills me with confidence.”

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Hendry played under McInnes at Aberdeen last season.

Signed in the last January window along with perhaps bigger names Florian Kamberi and Fraser Hornby, Hendry struck the most goals – three – of any of them. He was left out of the starting line-up for the game against Kilmarnock that saw Aberdeen end a six game run without a goal, the longest stretch in their history. But he came on after Hornby was injured and brought McInnes some temporary relief by claiming the winner.

“It is just about taking your chances in football,” he said. “There is only so much other people can do for you. As a player you just have to take your chances. And at Aberdeen I kind of did that.

“I am out of contract at the end of the season so I am open. I do not know what is going to happen. But first and foremost I need to keep myself in the team and keep scoring goals and keep playing well. As long as I work hard and keep doing that then it will take care of itself probably.”

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McInnes and Hendry share an extra bond – the manager used to play with the striker’s father, former Scotland skipper Colin, at Rangers.

“When I went up to Aberdeen the first thing that I did was have a meeting with Derek in his office,” said Hendry.

“The chat was more about family than about football. I think we spent five minutes talking about football and the rest was about how my old man was.

“The gaffer was a young boy when dad was playing at Rangers. It’s nice to know there’s a connection there.”

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Elsewhere in the Championship, leaders Arbroath head to Somerset Park to face Ayr United, who appointed Sheffield Wednesday coach Lee Bullen as manager on Fridau. Hamilton Accies are at home to Partick Thistle and second-placed Inverness Caledonian Thistle host Raith Rovers, currently third.

Dunfermline travel to face Morton in a meeting of the bottom two sides.

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