WHAT kind of legacy would 50 Scotland football caps leave you? You would be a household name for sure. Perhaps either playing or managing at a high level, and never short of offers to provide punditry on the TV or radio every week.

“And probably a couple of flash cars in the driveway as well!” chuckles Andy Henderson, without even the slightest hint of bitterness.

Henderson is an international half-centurion, but with the oval ball. In total he made 53 appearances for Scotland, scored on his debut against Ireland, played in two World Cups, made his last outing for his country as recently as 2008 and only hung up the boots completely five years ago.

That ought to command some kind of wider recognition, but Henderson can go about his business largely untroubled by autograph hunters or selfie seekers. And that suits the 41-year-old just fine.

Having briefly considered becoming a PE teacher and ruled out a move into full-time coaching, the former Glasgow Warrior trained instead to become a plumber, starting up his own eponymous business that takes him into households across the Glasgow area on a daily basis.

Rugby rarely crops up in conversation while Henderson is bending under sinks, removing baths or fixing leaky taps. He is quite happy to natter away as a fan on the occasion that talk turns to the fortunes of the national team under his former team-mate Gregor Townsend.

But the idea that the former centre might happen to casually drop those 53 Scotland caps into conversation sees him almost recoil in horror.

“No, no! I don’t think I’d ever be throwing that into a conversation myself. If someone is a keen fan or from a rugby background then they might know my name and it might come up.

“Scottish rugby circles are pretty small. But it’s not something I chat about all the time. Plus it’s been a few years since I was playing for Scotland so that’s a distant memory for most people now.

“If there’s anyone with an interest I’m probably just as keen as them to have a chat about rugby with them. I’ve no real connection to that scene anymore so I’m just watching as a fan the same as everyone else.”

Of the footballers building high-profile careers on the back of their playing days, the father of three has no complaints.

“I’ve no problem with that,” he shrugs. “If you’d told me when I was growing up I’d get even one Scotland cap I’d have bitten your hand off for that.

“To go on to play that many times for my country and everything else that went with it like getting to travel and play in two World Cups…it was all fantastic.

“But I actually enjoy being completely separate from it now. I’m just back to being a fan again just as I was when I was growing up.

“You just want Scotland to do well while watching from afar. And I’m happy for it to be that way. My only involvement pre-Covid was helping coach my son Jamie’s team which is great fun.”

The notion of pursuing a full-time coaching job after a wandering playing career that also took in spells with West of Scotland, Glasgow Hawks, Montauban in France, Newcastle Falcons and latterly GHA in Glasgow, never really appealed.

Instead, Henderson felt a move into plumbing would be more productive and so that has proved.

“The coaching thing was never really an option,” he admits. “I don’t think I would have been particularly good at it. To push on and really be successful in that line of work you’d have to be prepared to uproot and move every few years. It wasn’t something that I gave massive thought to.

“I enjoy the work as a plumber and it certainly keeps you moving. It’s pretty hard work physically but I don’t know if it’s the plumbing or the rugby that’s left me a bit knackered!

“The bit that brings the stress is just trying to juggle your time if you fill your diary and then a job runs over. But for the most part I enjoy the work and, touch wood, there always seems to be plenty of it. Over the past year I’ve been quite grateful for that.

“You look at other areas like the airline industry and the uncertainty facing pilots and others in that line of work and realise how lucky you are.”

Henderson’s modesty means he has a habit of crediting good fortune for the significant developments in his life.

Like this year, the 2001 Six Nations tournament was interrupted by factors outwith rugby’s control, namely the foot-and-mouth outbreak that saw Scotland’s match against Ireland postponed until September.

Henderson had not even been in the squad in the spring but had emerged as a 21-year-old prospect by the autumn to make a try-scoring debut in a 32-10 Murrayfield win.

“At the beginning of that year when it was meant to happen I was still playing for the under-21s” he recalls. “I was at Warriors but not getting many games. But that summer I had a good pre-season, got a wee run of games and then Kenny Logan had to pull out with an injury and I got a call-up to the Scotland squad and made the bench.

“It was pretty much my first full season at Glasgow so it all happened pretty quickly. But if the Ireland game had been played on the original date then I definitely wouldn’t have been involved. So the timing worked really well in my favour.

“My nerves were pretty prominent beforehand but the team got into a decent lead so it was a perfect situation for me to come on with 20 minutes to go. And then a bounce of the ball fell my way and I got a try. As a debut it couldn’t have gone much better.”

Matches against Ireland would feature heavily on his international highlights reel. He scored a pre-World Cup hat-trick in 2007 then made his final Scotland start a year later at Croke Park. Ireland won that latter match as they tended to do in that era.

“A lot of my big Scotland moments seemed to happen against Ireland,” adds Henderson. “Although it felt like we lost all the games against them in between. They seemed to mostly dominate us throughout that period with Brian O’Driscoll, Shane Horgan and all these guys. We had a lot of tough matches.”

The son of a squaddie, Henderson was born in Kent during a period when the family were “passing through” before moving back to Scotland in time for him to start primary school.

Mention of his birthplace is an evident sore point, something his pals, including new Warriors’ managing director Al Kellock, have enjoyed a bit of sport with over the years.

“In the match programmes they used to explain if there was a Kiwi-born player that they had a Scottish grandmother. And one time they put something similar in for me and I lost the rag with them!

“My dad had been in the army so we always moved about a lot as kids. My brother was born in Edinburgh, my sister and I were born down there, my next sister was born in Germany and then there were a few more siblings born in Scotland.

“So it was just unfortunate timing being born down the road. By the time I had started primary school we were in Edinburgh and then moved through to Glasgow and I went to school in Lenzie.

“It’s a bit of an Achilles heel with me and a few of the boys are aware of that and like to wind me up! But I’m Scottish through and through, no doubt.

“My No.1 dream was always to play for Scotland. I would have settled for five minutes off the bench in a tour game away to Romania.

“I always thought growing up that playing for Scotland was out of reach. And it probably was for a while. I wasn’t particularly good at school and was quite a late developer. It was only in my late teens that I really pushed on.

“So I can look back now on it all and feel quite pleased with what I did. I can’t say it was all good memories as there were plenty of defeats. But on the whole to get the number of caps I did massively exceeded my expectations. And I’m still grateful for that.”