JACK Hendry, who completed a £1.5 million move from Dundee to Celtic in the final hours of the January transfer window late on Wednesday night, yesterday revealed how being let go by the Parkhead club as a teenager had simply fuelled his desire to play for them one day.

Hendry spent no fewer than seven years at the Glasgow outfit as a youngster before moving on and having spells at Dundee United, Partick Thistle, Wigan Athletic, Shrewsbury Town, Milton Keynes Dons and then Dundee.

However, the 22-year-old, who has been compared to England and Manchester City defender John Stones due to his similar ball-playing style, never gave up the hope of turning out for Celtic and admitted he was delighted he will now get the opportunity to fulfil his lifelong ambition.

“It was a mutual decision leaving,” he said. “To be fair, moving on was the best thing for me. I learned a lot. I feel moments like that have stood me in good stead and made me a stronger character. I’m definitely better for it. Since leaving I’ve been striving to get to this level.

“When I was here I was the ball boy for games at Celtic Park for some big Champions League nights. When you’re a youth player you get that opportunity and I enjoyed watching some big games.

“I remember being there for games against the likes of Barcelona. It’s a distant memory now, right enough. It was great and you take all those moments in and try and relive them when you’re playing on the pitch yourself. I was striving to be a Celtic player. But now I have the opportunity and I’m thankful for that.

“When you walk out those doors at 15 or 16 you think to yourself ‘I’m going to come back here’. I just think it’s down to your character and not giving up. You need to be mentally strong and I feel I have got that in abundance. That’s why I’m sitting here today.

“There are some lads who don’t go on to make it, but you need to be mentally strong and I feel that I am. Pulling on the top on Wednesday night was a great moment and then again driving through the gates at Lennoxtown on Thursday. It’s brilliant to be back.”

Hendry, who has signed a four year contract with the Scottish champions, faces stiff competition to get a start at Celtic with Kristoffer Ajer, Dedryck Boyata, Marvin Compper and Jozo Simunovic all on the books at Parkhead, but he is confident he can challenge for a place in Brendan Rodgers’s team in the coming months.

“It is a very talented squad here,” he said. “There are some very good players, international players. But playing in the team is what I want to strive for. I believe in my ability and I believe I can do it. It is up to me now to show people what I can do.

“I think it is a good thing that Celtic have signed a Scottish centre half. As I said, I believe in my ability. If people doubt me, if people have that thought process, it is up to me to change that. I am fully confident that I can do that.

“It is obviously a motivation. If people doubt me it motivates me. I definitely take that in my stride. I like proving people wrong.”

Hendry caught the attention of Rodgers playing for Dundee against Celtic this season and thanked the Dens Park club and their manager Neil McCann in particular for helping him to develop as a player.

“They have given me a stage to play on and I have been able to go out and show my ability,” he said. “If it wasn’t for Dundee and Neil McCann I wouldn’t have been able to do that. So I am grateful for that. The fans there were really good for me as well.

“The way the manager wanted his team to play is one of the main reasons that I chose Dundee at the time. I had other options, but I thought the way that he played suited me. He really wanted his teams to play a brand of football that suited my game to a tee. I felt I could stand out in that team. That is the reason I chose to go there.”

Hendry, though, is hopeful he can take his game to a new level working under Rodgers, the former Swansea City and Liverpool manager who has a proven track record for developing raw young talents, at Celtic and revealed that was another reason he wanted to move.

“I want to kick on,” he said. “I’m ready to learn from them and feel theres’s no better place than here to do it. The manager and I had a conversation last night and he was really delighted that he got me. He was a big admirer and that’s a massive compliment.

“What he has done in the game is amazing. To get a compliment and a man of that stature wanting you is a big thing. Look at Coutinho and players he was worked with, Gerrard and Suarez and those kind of players at Liverpool. That’s the thought process.”