Pressure is a term Jack Hendry is all too familiar with, as the out of favour Celtic defender looks to reinvigorate his career while on loan in the A-League.
Hendry made an impressive start to life at Melbourne City – with whom he signed on loan as an injury replacement for Richard Windbichler – making the team-of-the-week in the side’s scoreless draw against Perth Glory.
Born on Scotland’s southwest coast in the town of Ayr, Hendry came through Celtic’s youth academy, before journeying throughout the UK. After spells with Partick Thistle and Wigan Athletic – as well as loan moves to Shrewsbury Town and MK Dons – it was his form for Dundee United that earned him a move back to Celtic Park, where he has made 27 appearances since re-joining in 2018.
Pursuing a temporary move away from the Bhoys for more game time, the 24-year-old knocked back offers from the Scottish Premier League as well as England’s Championship and League One in favour of a move to Australia.
“I saw it as an opportunity for myself to come out here play football, get game time and enjoy the life and football a bit more,” he said.
“I was having maybe not the best of times at Celtic and had a lot offers in England and Scotland to stay and thought to myself – why not.
“Just the fact it’s the City Group is a huge appeal to me. I thought coming out here, getting game time playing in a style of football that suits me would be very beneficial towards me, so that’s why I thought it would be a very good choice.
“There are very high expectations at Celtic, you need to win every game. I’m coming out here with the same mindset that I want to win every game I play here, so it doesn’t matter whether it’s in front of 60,000 at Celtic Park or at City’s ground. I still feel I have the same expectation levels, so I play with the same mentality as I would at Celtic.”
Hendry is also hoping he can catch the eye of national team boss Steve Clarke, with Scotland scheduled to meet Israel in a two-legged play-off in late-March to qualify for this year’s European Cup.
“Obviously to play at international level you need to be playing,” he said.
“Unfortunately, through injury and what-not I haven’t been playing recently, so best case for myself is to get back in the limelight and show the national team coach my attributes. Then it’s up to him to see if he wants to select me or not.
“Hopefully I can give him a headache in that department because I feel I’m more than capable of playing in that national team.”
Melbourne City travel to face Adelaide United at Hindmarsh on Saturday night, kicking off at 7.30pm AEDT.