Celtic “best player” for Scotland after loaning Ostendo

Celtic
Jack Hendry (centre) last played for Scotland in 2018
place: Hampden Park, Glasgow history: Friday 26 March Beginning: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: Listen live on BBC Radio Scotland DAB / 810MW / Online; Text commentary on the BBC Sport website and application

Jacques Hendry feels better equipped to serve in Scotland for a second time, having beaten the Belgian Professional League’s “best striker”.

The 25-year-old midfielder has been called up for the first time after playing three internationals in 2018.

On loan from Celtic, Hendry helped Ostende finish fourth.

“I feel like I grew up in Belgium for the past six months,” he said. “I feel like a better player, a better person on and off the pitch.”

Hendry has only played for Celtic four times after a loan injury at Melbourne City, securing his third international game against Portugal.

However, it bloomed in 24 forms, for Ostende, all except one started.

“The most important thing for me is that I will participate in this team with confidence in the games under my belt,” he said. “Maybe last time I didn’t play these games.

“You learn a lot through the game. After some good teams and singles with Oostenda I am ready, fully fit and with great confidence.”

Hendry joined the 15th-placed team last season, but Saturday’s 1-0 win against Axel Muskron put him ahead of Anderlecht by a one-point goal difference over third-placed Genk.

“I think we got the third best defense in Belgium,” he said. “For this team, it’s a big achievement.

“In Belgium, if you look at the league, there are some great teams and even the teams you don’t know have good players in the attack. This is what you want a defender to achieve in his game: face the best forward for a whole week and I feel like I do it in Belgium”.

With Scotland lacking centre-right defenders in their final squad, Hendry feels ready to face Austria as Steve Clark’s team prepares to begin their World Cup qualifying campaign at Hampden Park on Thursday.

He added: “Playing against international strikers, it can be useful to be in a team like the one where I was playing at this level and I think I can play at this level and move on.”

“I think I’ve competed very well and against the best forwards, and if someone watches those games, they can see how I can be a good defender.”

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