The Hendersons’ latest FaceTime blether must have been a joyous affair.
Liam, continuing to thrive on and off the pitch in Italy, scored his fourth goal of the season on Saturday as Lecce took another stride towards Serie A with a 2-1 win at Vicenza. He has also racked up eight assists.
Such performances have become commonplace for the Broxburn lad as he pursues his second promotion from the second tier of the Calcio pyramid.
I Giallorossi are nestled behind leaders Empoli, boasting a one-point lead over Salernitana with four games left to play. The top two go up.
#VicenzaLecce #SerieBKT GOOOOOOOOOOOL nuovamente avanti. Il Vicenza l'aveva pareggiata, i giallorossi si riportano avanti! Pettinari fa partire il contropiede, Coda serve HENDERSOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON 2 a 1 per noi #avantilecce
— U.S. Lecce (@OfficialUSLecce) April 17, 2021
Should Lecce complete their Italian job, Henderson can look forward to being a regular starter in the top-flight, such is his importance to Eugenio Corini’s side; brushing shoulders with Cristiano Ronaldo, Romelu Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Providing their respective clubs have not scuttled off to the European Super League by then, that is.
And, while nothing was settled on Saturday, it may go down as one of Liam’s most gratifying afternoons so far because, for the first time in senior football, little Brother Ewan also rippled the net.
A landmark for the family.
“I FaceTime Liam every night over in Italy,” said Dunfermline loanee Ewan in a recent interview. “He’s always been a great help for me; telling me what I can improve on and what I’ve done well.”
The 21-year-old, always with an eye for goal in the Celtic youth ranks, opened his account in the men’s game by making a lung-bursting run into the box in the dying embers of Dunfermline’s 3-1 victory over Queen of the South, firing home Dom Thomas’ pass.
The effort made a truly crucial three points for the Pars safe, ending a seven-game winless run to reclaim fourth spot in the Championship, pending Inverness’ encounter with Dundee on Tuesday night.
It was also a richly-merited reward for the increasing impact Henderson has made within Stevie Crawford’s set-up in the past three matches.
Saturday was the first time this campaign that two different midfielders have scored in the same match for Dunfermline. That tells a story.
Yes, Fraser Murray boasts a couple of braces — most notably in February’s 4-1 demolition of Raith Rovers — and what Thomas brings in terms of assists more than makes up for the scarcity with which he gets his name on the scoresheet.
However, the sight of players breaking the lines from deep, bursting into the box and getting shots on target has been all-too rare for the Pars. That will be essential if they are to pierce the inevitably stubborn resistance of Arbroath and Alloa, and secure a playoff place.
📸 Well done to Ewan Henderson who grabbed his first senior goal and The Pars third, during yesterday's 3-1 win pic.twitter.com/aiKKVmfc2t
— Dunfermline Athletic (@officialdafc) April 18, 2021
That is not simply a tactical issue. It requires belief and confidence, as well as managerial instructions, to make that split-second decision to commit to an attack; potentially leaving a vacant space behind if the move breaks down.
And it has been visible in recent games that Henderson — as he grows accustomed to his surroundings and his role within Dunfermline’s midfield diamond — is willing to take those risks and try to make things happen.
Even in the stodgy, forgettable 0-0 draw with Dundee last week, it was the Hoops youngster who came closest to breaking the deadlock for the hosts, with his close-range, goal-bound drive in the second half blocked by massed ranks of dark blue.
“That was Ewan’s first senior goal and he has made an impact since coming in” lauded Dunfermline boss Stevie Crawford, following Henderson’s efforts at the weekend.
“He is a boy who will want to take the ball in difficult circumstances. He will put his foot on it, he will take the ball and he is not frightened to play a pass or create opportunities.”
“I’m the one who listens to him because he has achieved things in this game. He’s won trophies — something I’ve not done — in Scotland, Norway and now he’s doing it in Italy. I just look up to him and try to do some of the things he has.”
Those were the words of Ewan Henderson when he was, tongue-in-cheek, asked whether he was driven to supersede his older sibling’s achievements in the game. Those, for the record, amount to a Scottish Premiership title, the Scottish League Cup, a Scottish Cup, the Norwegian top-flight and one Norwegian Cup.
However, in terms of his aspirations to make the grade with Celtic, usurping his family hero must be the next challenge.
Liam made 37 appearances for the Bhoys, scoring three goals, before ultimately deciding to leave the club in January 2018 in pursuit of regular football. That search took him to the south of Italy to work with 2006 World Cup-winner Fabio Grosso at Bari.
Ewan, meanwhile, has enjoyed 11 outings for Celtic and remains contracted to the Glasgow giants until the summer of 2022.
In that final year of his contract, he will have a new manager — a clean slate — to impress.
“Ewan Henderson, who I believe is a big talent, just needs maturation and experience, but you can see that talent,” said former boss Brendan Rodgers in January 2019.
Amid what is likely to be an almighty close-season upheaval at Celtic Park, Henderson could yet be afforded the opportunity to stake his claim. An impressive body of work with Dunfermline in the final weeks of the campaign would do that particular case no harm at all.