WHATEVER has happened at Hibs with Neil Lennon, it is such a shame that his time at the club looks to be ending in such an acrimonious way.

The chief executive Leann Dempster has obviously thought that whatever has gone on merits Neil being suspended, and without knowing the details myself, I can’t say anything about whether that as the case or not.

What I will say though, is that I think it is a crying shame for it all to come to an end like this, because he was doing and has done a great job at Easter Road.

It obviously depends on what has been said, but normally managers and players know that there is a line that cannot be crossed, especially nowadays. If you cross that line, then you are in deep trouble.

In Neil’s defence though, what he used to say to me in training or on the pitch was nobody’s business. Neil would often dig me out for giving the ball away or missing a chance, and that would just be in training.

What I used to say to Neil back was ‘f*** off and sort your own game out.’ I didn’t care less, because as soon as he gave the ball away I’d be right back onto him.

Now, I don’t know what has been said to Florian Kamberi if the reports of what has happened are accurate, and I don’t want to be seen to be backing Neil blindly if it comes out that what he has said or done is indefensible.

The only people that know for sure are those who were in the dressing room, but Neil fully knows that there is a line you can’t cross, and if he has, he will probably take it on the chin.

Hibs have had a dodgy couple of months on the field, but I hope that run and this situation doesn’t overshadow all of the good work he has done at the club.

Don’t forget, he lost two of his best players in the summer in Dylan McGeouch and John McGinn, and if you take the best players out of any team then you are going to suffer.

If anything, Neil has made a rod for his own back, because he has become a victim of his own success. He got Hibs up straight away from the Championship, and then had a wonderful season with results against both Celtic and Rangers and a fourth-placed finish.

Tactically, he is excellent, and I just think the whole situation is sad, because Hibs have lost a really, really good manager. He is so intelligent, and he is very passionate. He’s a winner.

I sat next to him for five years, and if I’d given the ball away I’d hate going into that dressing room because I knew that he’d be straight on me. He never let me off with anything.

I used to think sometimes ‘give me a break here’, but his standards were just so high.

He was a great captain, because even if he wasn’t playing so well himself, he would still exude that authority and display the bravery to dig people out. I always had a bite back at him in those situations, but he didn’t care. He would just keep on your case.

He has done a wonderful job at Hibs. I know that in the last few months the team have dipped well below the high standards that he has set, and they have had some results that have been unexpected, but it was just a blip for me.

Some of the things I’ve heard in dressing rooms, you just have to be able to take it and dust it off. You can hardly swear now, and for as long as I have been in the game, swearing has been a major part of it.

Sometimes, a manager might lose his temper and crossed the line into being out of order. And maybe when Neil went home on Friday, he may have felt that he had went overboard, but I doubt he would have been beating himself up over it.

Can you imagine having Roy Keane as your captain at Manchester United? Ryan Giggs told me that when they were doing the passing circle before the game, if you gave the ball away, Keane would go absolutely mental and would be looking to boot you for the rest of the warm-up. He would single you out, and make sure you knew that giving the ball away was not acceptable at Manchester United. The standards were so high, and Neil is similar.

It’s such a shame to me that his time at Easter Road may be coming to an end because of a disciplinary matter, rather than him moving on to bigger and better things. Neil is a brilliant manager. He understands the game and is articulate when laying out his ideas.

But the man is a winner, and sometimes that can spill over. He’s a friend of mine, so obviously I’m biased, but I see the good in him and I have no doubt he will bounce back from this.

Alas, that may not be at Hibs, and that is a real shame for both parties.