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Jack Hendry a defensive stalwart: where it began

With questions raised regarding who would start for Scotland in Friday’s opener in various positions, such as striker and centre-midfield, one man who there was little doubt over was Jack Hendry.

Now applying his trade in Saudi Arabia, Hendry has become a mainstay of the right-centre back position in Steve Clarkes defence after some crucial performances over the last few years.

It all began in Ayrshire when he was growing up in the small village of Annbank as the eight-year-old decided to sign for New Cumnock side Glenafton Athletic.

“You could just always tell Jack wanted to be a football player,” former coach John Stewart told Ayrshire Live. “He always pushed himself, he was always looking to improve.”

Hendry wasn’t the only SPFL player who came out of that team as former Ayr United, and current Troon striker Mark Shankland was actually a teammate of the Scotland international all those years ago.

Seeing him as a clear standout in the team, Stewart recommended Hendry to Celtic who immediately signed him to their academy.

It was Celtic where Hendry would spend the next seven years at the Old Firm club. He spoke of his youth days to the Celtic View: “I loved my time here when I was in the younger age groups, going abroad to tournaments and such. It was brilliant and the coaching was really good.”

His time at Celtic would come to an end though and when he was 16 years old, he moved down south to sign for Peterborough United. He played there for two years but failed to break into the first team and was released, a decision Peterborough United chairman Darragh MacAnthony would later admit was one of his regrets in his time in charge.

After a successful trial he then signed a contract with Dundee United, but a bout of severe glandular fever unfortunately disrupted his time at the tangerines.

Hendry joined Partick Thistle in August 2014 and after featuring in Thistle’s development squad frequently throughout the year he was awarded his first-team debut on the last day of the 2014–15 season in a goalless draw against Motherwell to begin his senior career.

On his deadline-day return to Celtic in 2018, now Glenafton club secretary Stewart released a statement congratulating his former player on his career so far.

He said: “It’s great to see another Glenafton youth player make it to the highest level in the game.”

“He texted me at 6.30 am today to let me know and thank Glenafton for giving him his first taste of Football and he still looks out for the Glens results.”

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