Berwick Rangers 0 - 3 Hibernian: Colin Calderwood keeps quiet

Berwick Rangers 0Hibernian 3O'Connor pen 45, Palsson 57, Sodje 72

NOT saying anything said it all yesterday. In refusing to take questions on whether he would remain Hibernian manager in the face of Birmingham City and Nottingham Forest pursuing him to become their assistant manager, Colin Calderwood as good as gave the answer.

He may well still be at the Leith club when they face Livingston on Tuesday in their second early pre-season outing. But Birmingham will surely not have to wait too much longer. They have already had a 300,000 compensation offer turned down by Hibs, as they attempt to pair Calderwood with their new manager Chris Hughton, reuniting the duo who worked together at Newcastle.

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The matter has been complicated by the absence of Birmingham's chief executive Peter Pannu, who has flown to Hong Kong where club owner Carston Yeung is facing money-laundering charges.

Just over a week ago, Calderwood compared deciding between various employment proposals to bags of sweets. After he had watched his men win comfortably at Berwick with a 3-0 win notable for a first goal, via the penalty spot, from returning striker Garry O'Connor, Calderwood conducted himself as if he had necked a whole jar of soor plooms.

• Tom English: 'When Colin Calderwood leaves, you'd hope that he would do so sheepishly'

He didn't much fancy Sky asking him about his future. "Nothing," was his answer when asked what he had to say as regards the speculation over his future. "I'm here for the pre-season and that's what we are doing," he said under further pressing. Asked to allay the fans' "fears" in terms of his position he then offered flatly: "That's not an important thing at the minute. You're (supposed to be] asking about the game, that's the reason I did the interview."

As he was nipping in front of the cameras, the Hibernian PR representative told the written media that Calderwood would be answering questions "only about the game". Even then the 46-year-old still managed to give himself away. Told he had a "lot to build on", he paused slightly and laughed uncomfortably before agreeing. And indeed throughout his one minute 26 second post-match briefing he gave off an air of detachment about the Hibs team-building and personnel. Mind you, as he did point out, in football terms the encounter was, as with all such friendlies, "nothing dramatic".

Yet even so, a healthy 600-strong contingent of Hibernian supporters might have found themselves coming over all wistful as they digested their team's starting line-up. New/old faces Ivan Sproule and O'Connor both featured, the first time the pair had turned out together in the colours of the Leith club since they were among the bright young things that won Tony Mowbray's Easter Road side such enthusiastic admirers back in 2006. Then, the football side at Hibs was all about potential and exciting possibilities. Now, with the Calderwood situation and a squad that appears misshapen, the mood is shaped by uncertainty and pessimism. If he, eh, keeps his nose clean, you would have to think Hibs will be able to derive a turn from O'Connor. While his frontline partner Sproule was typically busy, the colourful Scotland internationalist wasn't seen much in his first-half run-out but that changed seconds before the interval when his fellow returnee played him in on former Hibs keeper Andy McNeil with a perfect through ball.

O'Connor was hardly graceful in attempting to bundle his way past McNeil, and certainly seemed more interested in the keeper bringing him down than chasing the ball he had knocked past the Berwick trialist.

McNeil obliged and after wrestling the ball from Sproule, O'Connor rammed the penalty high into the middle of net.

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Hibs changed all but two outfield players for the second period, the rejigged team notable for the first sighting of Martin Scott since a training ground altercation with Sean Welsh which resulted in the player sustaining a fractured bone in his cheek that will be operated on this week. Otherwise, Victor Palsson netting after his shot took a deflection off Chris Townsley and Akpo Sodje adding a third for the visitors after rounding the keeper were the notable moments. All the while Calderwood stood impassively on the sidelines.

The first of many games he will watch on English soil from this position in the months ahead, no doubt.

Berwick Rangers: McNeil; Walker (McLean 73), McLeod, Townsley (Campbell 82), Deland; McLaren (Maxwell 64), P Currie (Gillan 78), Greenhill (Smith 64), L Currie, Ponton (McDonald 64); Gray (Graham 73).

Hibernian (first half): Stack; Taggart, Stephens, Murray, Booth; Wotherspoon, Thornhill, Horner, Stevenson; O'Connor, Sproule.

Hibernian (second half): Stack (Antell 64); Hart, Hanlon, Stephens (Horner 78), Smith; Crawford, Palsson, De Graaf, Scott; Crawford, Sodje.

Referee: Calum Murray. Attendance: 1,410.