Airey returns to Newcastle after Hibs loan

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Hibs boss Colin Calderwood has revealed Phil Airey’s loan spell at Easter Road has been brought to an end because the striker would rather remain with Newcastle United.

Calderwood, who knew Airey well from his time as assistant manager with Newcastle, had attempted to bring him to Hibs in January but saw that move fall through when the 19-year-old suffered a hamstring injury.

But he succeeded at the second time of asking in August when Airey agreed a six-month deal. However, the youngster enjoyed just 18 minutes of first team action before picking up an injury which saw him return to Newcastle to recover. Now, though. Airey has decided he’d prefer to stay with the Magpies than come back north of the border where he’d face competition from Garry O’Connor, Akpo Sodje, Junior Agogo and Leigh Griffiths for a berth up front.

Confirming the deal had been declared “null and void”, Calderwood said: “If he is not going to be comfortable and happy you are not going to get the best out of him.

“Everyone has come to an agreement. You cannot force someone to play for you, it would be wrong to have him here and him not being in contention because he was always not wanting to be here but would rather be at Newcastle.”

Meanwhile, Calderwood, who has allowed teenage midfielder Scott Taggart to join Stranraer on loan, praised his side’s perseverance after they came from two goals down to claim a 3-3 draw with Dundee United. O’Connor’s eighth goal of the season looked as if it would count for nothing as United streaked into a 3-1 lead with two strikes from Jon Daly and Danny Swanson.

But Hibs hit back with two goals in a minute, United defender Scott Robertson scoring an own goal before Junior Agogo grabbed his first for the Capital side.

While admitting he was disappointed to have scored three goals at home and not to have won, Calderwood said: “We really came from the depths in all honesty to get the point.

“I was delighted the boys kept going. It is hard to play with any freedom, rhythm and confidence in the situation we are in. To score three goals at home and not win the game is something you do not want to happen but at least we look as if we can create and probably the greatest thing we can take out of it is we have been able to come back from two goals behind with not long to go and when we were not playing particularly well.”