Midi clock - latency issue with external gear

I have upgraded from Cubase 8.5 to 10.5.20 recently.
I just cannot believe how many issues I am facing on all fronts with this version of Cubase.
Amongst blacklisting contemporary 64 bit plugins, freezing and crashing on a powerful computer, and lots of other nuisances, one stands out.
I have lots of external gear, which I synchronise via Midi time clock or Midi Timecode).
currently I am working on a track that USED to run fine, trying to trigger Minibrute 2S to start the sequence from internal sequencer.
Midi in on external vst instrument track (i prefer this against old midi plus audio track for external devices) is set to Not Connected, as I only want audio signal.
Whatever I do with Midi Clock starts sequence much later, and this is not audio issue or latency, this is MIDI. When i turn off @follow project and send start message, it does start in time but drops a frame at the end of the first 8 bars of a sequence and as soon as it is supposed to repeat, it is off the grid again.
There is no perfect offset in term of frame, time or note length - so i really dont know what else to do. I will roll back to my trusty 8.5 if Stainberg allows me to do so. I paid almost 200 quid for an update that gave me sampler track and colours in mixer, together with tons of issues.