Colin Calderwood has given the clearest signal yet that he intends to continue as boss of Hibs, asking: “Why would I want to leave?”
The former Scotland defender’s future has been subject to the most intense speculation for almost two months after both Nottingham Forest and Birmingham City lined him up to become their assistant manager.
Calderwood himself added to the conjecture by steadfastly refusing to distance himself from the prospect of becoming No.2 to either Steve McClaren at Forest or Chris Hughton, to whom he’d been right-hand man at Newcastle United, at Birmingham.
McClaren, who has since appointed Rob Kelly as his assistant, provoked fury from Hibs chairman Rod Petrie by claiming a return to the City Ground, where he had once been manager, was Calderwood’s preferred choice, while Birmingham were reported to have had a £300,000 compensation bid rejected.
Although Hughton has, in the interim, brought in Paul Trollope as first-team coach, he is understood to remain on the look-out for an assistant, with Calderwood reportedly still very much in mind.
However, writing in Saturday’s matchday programme ahead of Hibs’ 2-1 defeat by St Mirren, Calderwood said: “Much has been written and much has been spoken about my role as Hibernian manager. But my response is why would I want to leave a club where everything is being done in the proper way? Why would I want to leave a financially stable, well-structured club where I have full control of first-team football decisions?
“I want to build a team that inspires the Hibernian supporters, that delivers an exciting brand of winning footballl and that brings the fans back to Easter Road. “I want to deliver the one end product everyone associated with Hibernian desires – a successful team challenging at the top end of Scottish football.”
Calderwood, however, today finds himself under increasing pressure after defensive blunders by Callum Booth and Victor Palsson gifted Saints the two goals which earned them victory after Garry O’Connor’s third goal of the season had fired Hibs ahead.
Since taking over from John Hughes last October, Calderwood has lost 21 of his 36 games in charge, the weekend defeat being Hibs third in the first four SPL matches of this season
Meanwhile, on-loan Newcastle United striker Phil Airey has returned to the Tyneside club after picking up a knock in training. Airey’s rehabilitation will take place at his parent club and it is anticipated it will be a month before he returns to the Capital.