Celtic legend Paul Lambert had Neil Lennon’s back as a player.
Now they are both managers, he’s not about to desert him.
Lambert understands some of the stick that has come old partner Lennon’s way.
The Ipswich boss is fully aware flak flies when a Celtic manager is on a run of seven wins out of 22 games.
Opinions are a valuable part of football, it's just Lambert has been left surprised at some of the outlets.
In particular, he’s been irked at the ease in which some ex-teammates have had a pop at Lennon. Lambert hasn’t held back. He’s made his feelings known as he said: “I’ve found that particularly disappointing.
“I’m not expecting everyone to be a Neil Lennon cheerleader and absolve him from all blame. Not at all. And I don’t think Neil would expect that of anyone.
“When Ally McCoist was struggling as Rangers manager did you see his former team-mates lining up to have a pop? Absolutely not.
“Could you imagine the likes of Ian Durrant, Ian Ferguson or John Brown saying Ally should have been sacked a few years ago? It would never happen.
“Had the shoe been on the other foot this season and Steven Gerrard had gone a third successive season without silverware I’m still not sure those guys I’ve named, who didn’t even share a dressing room with Steven, would have called for him to be sacked.
”I should make it clear here that I’m not having a go at the many former Celtic players who work in the media and have enough skin in the game to call it as they see it.
"There are many who I totally respect and I would consider them fair and balanced.
“Maybe I’m blinkered, maybe I’m in the wrong for thinking if you have nothing nice to say about a friend then don’t say anything at all.
"But I just don’t think you need to call for a former teammate to be sacked.
“I’m not going to name names, but I did call one up the other night and told him he was a disgrace. He couldn’t wait to get out of Celtic when the chance to move to England came about. I reminded him of that. I reminded of how much help Lenny gave him both on and off the park.”
While former colleagues can’t help Lennon, the players inside the dressing room can.
They also don't escape Lambert’s attention and he reckons some may have damaged their chances of big moves by failing to turn the tide for Celtic.
Big hitters who have underperformed at a time when Lennon and their club have needed them the most.
Lambert said: “The players need to take a good look at themselves as well. This isn’t me diverting the blame away from Neil because everyone in management knows the buck stops with you.
“He needs to take his share of how things have unfolded this season. But how about the players taking some responsibility?
about everything that is happening off the pitch. Forget about whether the manager is under pressure or not. Forget what is happening upstairs.
“Where is your desire to go out and win a football match? Where is your professional pride?
“Maybe too many of them have their sights set on moving away. They might just find the moves they thought they might have lined up might not be there after how they have performed this season.
“Edouard, as an example, probably has an eye on moving to the Premier League.
“Does he ever think managers down there might wonder why he seems to have looked just so disinterested this season and maybe think he might not be what you want when you are in the trenches?
“I’m maybe being slightly unfair namechecking him and not others, however, I think it is fair to say he should be Celtic’s talisman and he hasn’t delivered.
“Celtic fans will always forgive a lack of quality if they see you giving everything form the shirt.”
Lambert, of course, knows Lennon has to carry the can for those player failings. It’s been an awful spell on the pitch and Celtic were also hammered for their trip to Dubai.
That caused the manager to rail against suggestions of unprofessionalism against his group.
Lambert listened and said: “I watched his interview the other night before the Livingston game and you can see how much it means to him and how much he is hurting. “Yes some of his points got missed in his delivery, but he did make a lot of valid points within that press conference, too.
“Hindsight is a wonderful thing isn’t it. And yes, on reflection, Celtic should have pulled the plug on the Dubai trip when they lost to Rangers.
“At a time when so many normal people are cooped up in their own houses and longing for some sun more than ever before, and having slipped so far behind in the title race, perhaps they misjudged the mood of the Celtic support.
“But I’ve been on enough mid-season breaks myself as both a player and a manager. They can prove hugely valuable and maybe Celtic were hoping it would prove to be the launch pad for a strong second half of the season.
“I understand that chain of thought. Sadly, that hasn’t proven to be the case.”