JACK HENDRY is being backed by Scotland boss Alex McLeish to battle his way through his sticky spell at Celtic.
The 23-year-old central defender, bought for £1.3million from Dundee in January, has struggled in a Hoops defence that had its first clean sheet in seven games in the 1-0 win over Hamilton Accies on Sunday.
Hendry was missing after sustaining an injury in the Betfred League win over Partick Thistle at Firhill the previous week.
However, the youngster impressed the international gaffer in the summer tour of Mexico and Peru and is one of six Celts in the squad for next month’s friendly with Belgium and UEFA Nations League meeting with Albania.
McLeish said: “We know football and fans – you make a mistake and they get on your back. That’s the nature of the game. It’s down to how he reacts.
“It happened to me in my career, as well. I played 14 in a row for Scotland, had an injury, then found it difficult to find my form again.
“Jack played well in the South American trip. I understand he didn’t travel last week because of an injury, so maybe he’s been playing with that for a few weeks. Who knows? We’ll find out when he joins us.
“When you play with Celtic and Rangers you need a strong mentality. The irony is he got criticised for losing a goal in Europe, but then we had a fantastic report on him from the Partick Thistle game.
“I know he went on a mazy run which I hear was on YouTube, but, by and large, he had a solid game.
“The tiniest mistake can hurt players and make them lose their confidence, but I think Jack has the bottle.”
Hendry will be joined in the squad with Hoops team-mates Craig Gordon, Kieran Tierney, Callum McGregor, James Forrest and Leigh Griffiths.