Celtic defender Jack Hendry has admitted that he has endured the most difficult six months of his career but expects that he will be a better player because of it.

The Scotland internationalist has been the subject of heavy criticism for his part in Celtic’s defensive frailties in high profile games but the 23-year-old has insisted that he is focused on utilising every experience, positive or negative, to become a better player.

“It has been a tough time at club level for me personally but I always think that they make you stronger as a player and as a person,” said the former Dundee defender.

“I am always looking for feedback on my performances whether that is from games or in training but I am always looking to improve.

“It has probably been the steepest learning curve of my career over the last six months. Every touch, every pass, every move gets analysed at Celtic so that is something that I have had to learn from. I need to embrace that.

“It is difficult. Sometimes you have to stay strong and it makes you a bigger and better person. It is not easy dealing with disappointments but that is when you have to stand tall.”

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers recently spoke of the fact that Hendry had been given more responsibility at this stage of his Parkhead career than the coaching staff would have anticipated, purely because of the injuries that have affected the defence.

Hendry, though, is eager to take a starting jersey no matter how it comes and has warned that the only background noise he pays attention to comes from his manager.

“I don’t know mind being put in,” he said. “I want to be put in and I want to play in those games. If I am asked to play in a high stake game I feel I am capable of doing that and it is only going to make me better as a player. I do take confidence from playing at that level and getting that experience.

“I have talked to the manager about it but I do feel that I am ready to play in them. The only criticism I am paying any attention to comes from him and I try to take on board everything that he tells me.”

Celtic have what could be a definitive few weeks ahead in terms of their season. It kicks off with this weekend’s home game against Hibs and is followed by an away Europa League game against Leipzip, Celtic’s biggest rivals for the second spot in the group, and a League Cup semi-final against Hearts.

“I want to play in every game I can,” insisted Hendry. “It is a big couple of weeks coming up for the club and hopefully I have a role to play.

“Sometimes teams come and try to frustrate us at Celtic Park but I think that Hibs might come and have a go which should make for a good game. It also helps us as hopefully that will lead to a bit of space and the game opening up a bit.”

And Hendry expects that his recent experience with Scotland can offer him further pointers to take into the Europa League.

“It is fairly similar playing at international level and playing in European games for Celtic,” he said. “You know that you are playing against talented sides and each individual player has genuine quality. You know that any time there is a lack of concentration then you get punished.”