For five years, I sat next to Neil Lennon every single day.

And the public perception of what he is and the genuine character that he is are entirely at odds with one another.

There are three things that jump out at me whenever people talk about Neil; the first is that they have no real grasp of how bright he is. He is a clever guy, articulate and intelligent. He is not some kind of uneducated yob the way that you see him perceived at times.

The second is that I always felt he never ever got the respect he deserved as a player. So much of the good that he brought to what was an outstanding Celtic team was overshadowed by the off-the-field stuff.

But he was the kind of player where you really appreciated his value and what he done for the team when he was not there. He was a fine player.

Thirdly, he has shown he is a very good manager. Look at what he has done with Hibs. The Easter Road fans love him not because he is Neil Lennon but because of the job he has done from the first minute that he walked into the dressing room.

He put a team out on the park that they like watching, a team that have done pretty well under his eye. All of these things are overlooked when people talk about Neil and I honestly thinks it dilutes the professional respect that he deserves.

I can’t be bothered with the ‘bringing it on himself’ brigade. It is a nonsense but more than that it excuses behaviour that is downright dangerous.

It baffles me that in the aftermath of what happened at Tynecastle that you then have another idiot lobbed at coin at Alfredo Morelos as Rangers beat St Mirren. What is wrong with people?

And I have to say when Steven Gerrard is asking if it will take someone losing an eye before people take it seriously then you have to agree. Use the CCTV. Get people banned for life from visiting a football ground if they can’t behave.

A coin, a battery, a lighter – they have all been thrown in recent seasons at Scottish grounds. It is pathetic and really cowardly. You could cause a devasting injury and because of what?

Because you couldn’t take a bit of a ‘get-it-up-you’ pantomime gesture. It really is absurd.

I am lucky enough that the worst I ever had was someone spitting on me when Celtic beat Celta Vigo over in Spain. That is despicable too and really vile but I never had anyone chuck a coin or anything like that towards me – and I had a fair few goal celebrations that I enjoyed.

You look at Kris Boyd with his celebration when he scored against Aberdeen at the weekend and you laugh it off. You don’t get riled enough to want to throw something at him and if you do then, frankly, you are the one with the problem.

It is football. It is emotional. Everyone will react in different ways – especially if you have spent the bulk of the 90 minutes taking absolute abuse and hearing every word of it.

People talk about Lenny and this idea that he has to conduct himself better because he is a football manager but that doesn’t fit entirely either. These guys are under more pressure than anyone – they are under more pressure than the guys out on the pitch because it is their head that will roll if they don’t get the results.

Reacting to an offside goal in a derby is hardly a criminal offence – throwing a coin is. It is not a difficult distinction to make.

It is disgusting and moronic. The perpetrator deserves everything they get and people round about them must know who was responsible for it.

In any case, I just think that Neil will dust himself down and get on with it. Ultimately it will be added to the long list of nonsense that has followed him around in Scotland.

I just feel for him in the sense that all of the baggage now casts a shadow over his ability on the training field and in the dug-out. That is what people should be talking about because he has proved in his time at Celtic and at Hibs that he is a top manager who knows how to get the best out of his players.

That he finds himself having to defend himself and go through the nonsense of the last week is poor.