Hibernian striker Flo Kamberi is adamant that he bears no animosity towards Neil Lennon after breaking his silence on the heated row with the club’s former head coach.
Despite lavishing praise on the happy working environment created by Lennon’s successor Paul Heckingbottom, the Swiss also went as far as to thank the current Celtic manager for bringing him to Easter Road in the first place.
The infamous team debrief two days after the January 23 defeat to Motherwell was the precursor to Lennon leaving his position by ‘mutual consent’ just days later.
That was the straw that broke the camel’s back for 24-year-old, having also been publicly singled out by Lennon as he struggled for form on his way to scoring 12 goals last term.
Lennon previously said that Kamberi was ‘nowhere near as hungry as he was last season’ and was ‘not working hard enough’.
Despite initially being suspended before being absolved of any blame, Lennon and his assistant Garry Parker’s departures were announced by Hibs on January 30. However, Kamberi, who was signed by Lennon on a permanent deal a year ago after scoring nine goals in 14 games on loan from Grasshoppers during the second half of the 2017/18 campaign, insists he has no problem with the 48-year-old.
“That is ages ago, now everything is fine,” said Kamberi.
“I have to thank Neil Lennon because he brought me to Hibs and gave me game time and for a long time he gave me 90 minutes, so I just have to be thankful for what he did for me.
“Now everything is fine between us and I wish him and Celtic very good luck and a good season.
“Last season was also an experience. But it is not possible that every year is going to be a perfect year.
“You will always have ups and downs, especially as a young player, but it has definitely made me stronger for the future.
“Last season made me stronger and now I feel very good.
“I have a very hard mentality so they will not make me feel down and want to just stay in my bed, thinking ‘why is it like this?’
“I have good people around me, with my management and my family and they discuss things with me and help me to do better and deal with things but it wasn’t the best season last year.
“I will take the positives from it and I know what to do better and I am very confident and looking ahead with good focus into a better future.”
However, in what could be perceived as a thinly-veiled dig at Lennon, Kamberi highlighted his contentment working under Heckingbottom.
Kamberi, who got off the mark for the current campaign with the opening goal in Tuesday’s 3-0 Betfred Cup victory over Arbroath, added: “I think the atmosphere is very, very good with this manager.
“Everybody is confident and, of course, if you are winning games then it is even better.
“That gives everybody even more belief.
“We do a lot of analysing, we get tips and clips and so every player should know what he has to do better.
“At the end of the day you are a professional and you have to prepare yourself for the game and you have to know your job and what you can do better.
“The management we now have here, with Paul Heckingbottom and Robbie [Stockdale] are very good people.
“We have people around us who want to help and improve us and we can all choose to stay back after every training session with Robbie and do something extra with him so nobody is lazy. Everybody here is very ambitious and wants to get better.
“I think it could be a very good season for us, absolutely.”
Kamberi, who is contracted to Hibs until summer 2021, has taken talk of interest from Middlesbrough, Swansea City and Brentford with a pinch of salt but candidly admits that he is hoping to use his time in Leith as a springboard to a bigger move.
He added: “Speculation like this means I am doing something well.
“Scoring goals and playing well, for me, is a sign that hard work pays off.
“I am happy at Hibs and I am enjoying playing here, for this club, in front of our supporters.
“Every player will have ambitions to go forward in their career, to make a step up and I think our club will respect that but, at the moment, I am feeling very content here.
“The future is long, though, so you never know what is going to happen.”