Scotland’s Jack Hendry has thanked manager Steve Clarke for showing belief in him and putting him in the team despite limited playing time at his club.
The centre-back played all three Nations League games during the international break as two wins and a draw against Ukraine and Republic of Ireland saw the national team top their group and win promotion.
Hendry played 90 minutes in all three games, scored the equaliser against Republic of Ireland, and found himself in a new-look back line alongside debutant Ryan Porteous in Krakow on Wednesday.
It was an eventful week after the former Dundee and Celtic defender had failed to play much club football this season. Hendry had played one game for Club Brugge before moving to Italian side Cremonese on loan, where he has played just seven minutes so far.
He said: “Unfortunately the game time this season for different reasons has not been there so it was a big ask to come in and I am really thankful for the manager for putting the trust in me to play me and hopefully I repaid him.
“It was three big performances from the team and it’s brilliant that we managed to make him proud and the nation proud.
“I believe in my ability and it is about having the backing of the manager. I feel that I have that with the gaffer and I am extremely thankful for it.
“He is a top-class manager and when someone like that puts trust in me it gives me a lot of confidence.
“I know that I can play at this level and compete, this is kind of where I belong, on this stage and for him to know that gives me great confidence.”
Hendry said that he had been working hard on his fitness in order to be ready for Scotland duty, and said that had been determined not to let anyone down.
Now, the 27-year-old will return to Cremonese and work on getting into the first team and making the most of his Serie A experience.
“I have a new challenge in Serie A,” he said. “It is a really exciting chapter in my career and it will be amazing for me.
“It is a league that really improves defenders and that is one of the reasons I have gone to play there.
“It is a different test for a team that is maybe in the bottom half of the table and hopefully I can add a lot of value to that team.”