Blair Henderson rebuilding career after Hearts snub

Blair Henderson, far right, while he was training at Hearts last year
Blair Henderson, far right, while he was training at Hearts last year
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New Bonnyrigg Rose striker Blair Henderson revealed he chose the New Dundas Park side over other junior clubs because he believes they can provide him with a platform to get a move back to senior level.

Henderson came close to signing for Hearts when on trial in November last year and spent a week at Hibs’ East Mains Training Centre earlier this month, but failed to win a deal.

The spell on trial at Hearts ended up being for a few months as he trained at Riccarton at the end of last year, with Henderson believing he would be offered a deal, but it didn’t work out.

Instead, Gary Naymsith signed the tall striker for East Fife, but he left Bayview after little more than a month before he joined League Two Annan Athletic in March until the end of the season.

The 20-year-old believes he never won a deal due to the circumstances at Hearts. The club were in administration and only able to sign players on a one-in one-out basis, manager Gary Locke opting to sign Paul McCallum on loan from West Ham as his only transfer.

“I was training at Hearts for about six months. I was close to getting a deal, but then the club was in administration and there was a management change, so it didn’t really work out,” said Henderson.

“I got close to all the boys and myself and Kevin McHattie were in digs together. I thought I was going to get in, so it was quite hard to take.

“I was meant to be getting a deal, but circumstances meant it didn’t happen for me. Since then, I’ve struggled to get anything senior, so that’s why I’ve ended up going junior.”

Henderson, who started his professional career at Dunfermline Athletic, began this season on trial at Bonnyrigg’s Super League rivals Penicuik Athletic – the striker bagging three goals in three games before he went on trial at Hibs.

Penicuik offered him a deal, but he opted to become David McGlynn’s first signing as Bonnyrigg boss after he quit Musselburgh Athletic.

Henderson revealed McGlynn was first to make contact with him in the summer when he was manager of Musselburgh and was a big pull in making the move with his promise of free-flowing attacking football.

He said: “I had an offer from Penicuik and I was very close to signing for them, but Davie was the first one to get in touch with me at the start of the summer.

“I had told him I wasn’t ready to go junior yet and I was going to try and get a contract with a senior club. He just accepted that and when he got the Bonnyrigg job it was perfect timing. I hadn’t had any senior offers by then and the way he spoke to me convinced me to join.

“The club like to pass the ball and build from the back and I like the ball at my feet more than in the air. I hope I can do well at this level. I’ve got a couple of aims in terms of goals so hopefully I can keep scoring and get seen by a senior club.”

Henderson is hoping to learn a lot from his team-mate Steven Hislop, the player-coach at Bonnyrigg having played in the SPL with Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Livingston.

With the pair both similar in build, Henderson sees the 36-year-old as the ideal role model. “When Bonnyrigg first got in touch my dad had said that Steven Hislop had been there and done it and he would teach me the ways as he’s a big striker like myself,” he said. “He’ll teach me a lot if I watch how he plays and hopefully I’ll take a lot from it and get better.”

McGlynn got off to a great start as Bonnyrigg boss last week with a 4-1 league win over Carnoustie Panmure, but the Red-and-whites take a break from league business tomorrow when they host Inverness City in the first round of the Scottish Junior Cup.

Goalkeeper David Hay and defender David White will miss tomorrow’s match through injury, but Hislop returns after sitting out last week’s match.