Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass is happy with Callum Hendry’s contribution – but has still to make a call on the loan striker’s future.
St Johnstone centre-forward Hendry netted the opener in the 2-1 defeat of Livingston at the weekend to take his tally for his loan spell to three goals.
The 23-year-old has delivered the most goals of the three loan stars secured on transfer deadline day by former boss Derek McInnes.
That is despite Hendry having the least starts.
He has made just four starts while Florian Kamberi (St Gallen) has started 11 games for the Dons and scored just once – against Livingston in the Scottish Cup.
Scotland Under-21 international Fraser Hornby (Stade de Reims) has yet to score in six starts, although he has struggled with a thigh problem.
Hendry has led the line for the Dons in Glass’ two Premiership games in the dugout as manager – against Celtic (1-1) and Livingston.
He impressed in both.
Glass has no senior strikers signed for next season as Hendry, Kamberi and Hornby are all set to return to their parent clubs at the end of the season.
The only signed senior striker at Pittodrie, Bruce Anderson, is currently on loan at Hamilton and his Dons deal expires at the end of the season.
It is understood Glass is keen to secure Anderson on a new deal for next season.
Hendry, 23, has a year left of his contract at St Johnstone.
Asked if Hendry is a player he could look to potentially hold on to, Glass said: “He has done really well, but Callum is a St Johnstone player so we will cross that bridge when we come to it.
“I am sure St Johnstone will have something to say about that.
“But we are happy with what we are getting from Callum at the minute.”
Hendry netted the opener against Livingston to secure a win that confirmed qualification to the Uefa Conference League, while also keeping the fight to finish third in the Premiership alive.
Glass said: “Callum showed a striker’s instinct to be in the right place at the right time.
“Strikers love smashing it into the net.”
Hendry led the line against Livingston and managed two shots on target with a further goal-bound effort blocked by a defender.
Another effort went just wide of keeper Max Stryjek’s post.
He was replaced after 64 minutes by Hornby. The Stade de Reims striker himself was later substituted off due to injury.
Crucially Hendry is getting into dangerous areas and unleashing shots inside the penalty area.
That was a factor that had been sorely missing from the Aberdeen attack prior to the arrival of manager Glass.
Aberdeen had mustered just one goal in six Premiership games before Hendry was given his first start in the 0-0 draw with Hamilton – McInnes’ final game.
Hendry had scored that goal, when coming off the bench to replace the injured Hornby, and secure a 1-0 win over Kilmarnock on February 20.
As can be seen from his heat and touch maps against Livingston, Hendry is getting into the box.
In his first Premiership game as Aberdeen manager, Glass displayed faith in Hendry by pitching him in from the start against Celtic.
Although he had just one shot on target, Hendry helped stretch the Celtic defence especially in a positive opening to the first half.
In the second half. the Dons defended deeper and hit on the break with Hendry offering an outlet, although he had little of the ball in that spell.
After a hard working shift he was replaced on the 66th minute for Dylan McGeouch.
As can be seen from the heat and touch maps for his performance against Celtic, for 66 minutes Hendry put in a shift both in attack and tracking back to help out defensively.
There remain a number of questions yet to be answered regarding Hendry.
Has he impressed Glass enough to be offered a deal for next season?
If so, would St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson part with him?
In January this year, as a loan deal for Hendry was in the offing, Davidson underlined Hendry still had a future in Perth, stating: “I see Callum as a big player for me next season.
“He is still young in terms of development. I rate him really highly.”
Finally is a striker who has netted three times for the Reds in three-and-a-half months capable of taking Aberdeen to the next level and delivering 15 to 20 goals a season?