Three Hibs first-team players have been punished for a breach of discipline during the Easter Road outfit’s winter training camp in the Algarve,
Striker Anthony Stokes, midfielder Danny Swanson and winger Martin Boyle all broke a curfew at the squad’s luxury base near Portimao.
It is understood that while the breach wasn’t serious, it was enough for the trio to be banished to train by themselves for the remainder of the trip. They also missed the friendly match against Dutch side Willem II which wrapped up the week-long stay in Portugal, although all three were said to have been nursing injuries in any case.
Individually they were summoned to a showdown meeting with boss Neil Lennon and George Craig, Hibs’ head of football operations, before the travelling party left for home and were dealt with “in line with the club’s disciplinary procedures” – although the details of how each was dealt with remain private.
However, it is understood a line has now been drawn under the affair, with all three due to rejoin their team-mates at the club’s East Mains training centre on Monday to begin preparing for Sunday’s Scottish Cup derby against Hearts at Tynecastle.
It is the second time in a matter of months that Republic of Ireland internationalist Stokes has fallen foul of Lennon, ordered off the training ground in late November after a row and left out of the side which faced Hamilton the following day.
At the time Lennon – who was also Stokes manager at Celtic – insisted it was “an isolated incident”, saying: “We had a difference of opinion but it’s been dealt with. I was not going to tolerate it and he understands that.
“He did not need to apologise. He just has to understand there are certain codes of conduct and a level of discipline you cannot cross with me.
“He knows that, it’s done now. He should have known that having worked with me before. He accepted he was in the wrong and he is getting on with it now.”
However, Stokes has since insisted that earlier incident was no more than “a misunderstanding”, adding: “To be honest, in my opinion it was nothing.
“The gaffer has spoken about it. I am not going to go into detail but as far as I am concerned, I did nothing wrong.”
Stokes also claimed Lennon was not one for holding grudges, that he could quickly move on and not dwell on things, but he will surely be wary of testing his manager’s patience again any time soon.