Twelve months after undergoing knee surgery Jack Hendry appears to have got his career into a perfect place.
Moving on loan to Melbourne City in January 2019 looked like a step towards semi-retirement in a pleasant sunny environment where soccer isn’t treated so seriously.
Now he appears to be in the form of his life, impressing in central defence as Oostende enjoy the dizzy heights of fourth place in the Belgian Pro-League, ahead of Anderlecht.
During the close season Hendry was barely an after thought at Celtic. When Jozo Simunovic was released the former Dundee defender wasn’t considered as an option in that position.
Last summer Hendry was working on his rehab but since he scored on his Oostende debut against Mechelen at the start of September he has gone from strength to strength.
Looking back over the last 12 months he had one interesting observation to make in an interview with BBC Scotland:
Going to Australia was an opportunity to get away from everything, get my confidence back, get back playing. Then I picked up that bad injury.
When I was out there, the virus started and I came back and had a few months to make myself into the best shape possible. I used that time to get one up on people who maybe weren’t working as hard.
Oostende really wanted me. They finished low down the league last season but I felt I could have a good impact. Thankfully it is paying off.
Kris Ajer and Chris Jullien were Celtic’s first choice defenders at the start of the season with Hatem Abd Elhamed, Nir Bitton and with one appearance last season, Stephen Welsh the alternatives.
Shane Duffy was signed at the start of September but from mid-October everything at Celtic nose-dived.
With his Celtic contract running until June 2022 this summer will be a vital time for Hendry with a variety of options expected on the back of his comeback season with Oostende.
CLICK HERE for Hendry’s 2020/21 playing stats.