Callander walks after 'Sonians sack Baird

ROGER BAIRD today refused to go quietly after being sacked as backs coach of Watsonians rugby club in a move which sparked the immediate resignation of colleague Gary Callander.

In a statement, Watsonians said changes to their coaching structure were necessary after they dropped into the bottom half of BT Premiership Division One. It is understood ’Sonians are among the biggest investors on the club scene.

But Baird hit back, saying: "Possibly scapegoats are being looked for. Gary and I left the club in a much better position than we found them in the Second Division four years ago at the end of a long run of defeats and also took them to a Scottish Cup Final."

Former Grand Slam winger Baird, who previously coached Scotland Under-21s for five years, also accused the club of trying to erect a smoke screen around his sacking in hinting at further upheaval.

"There will be more to come out of this. All I will say is there has been a good deal of internal strife at Watsonians.

"When I knew something was happening I had to phone the club and ask if they shouldn’t be phoning me. They then asked what I wanted to say so far as the Press were concerned and whether it would be a case of me resigning or my going by mutual consent.

"My response was that Watsonians called the tune so it was their decision. From my point of view I was not going to hide behind the fact they have asked me to resign."

Gary Callander, a former Scotland captain, was unavailable for comment but Baird said: "Gary did not hesitate in resigning and whereas this was going to be my last season in coaching anyway I would without question recommend him to another club. Gary is without doubt one of the most talented coaches in Scotland and the best I have worked with."

The pair previously spent most of their careers as team-mates at Kelso although Baird finished his playing days at Watsonians.

Watsonians spokesman Martin Macari said it was with reluctance that Gary Callander’s resignation had been accepted.

"We gave a vote of confidence to Gary but he decided to resign. Changes were necessary following recent poor performances by the first team.

"Thee wins from league games played so far is simply not good enough, added Macari in issuing a statement that made clear last weekend’s home defeat by Aberdeen Grammar FPs was the final straw for the club.

For Saturday’s BT Scottish Cup clash with Jed-Forest former top team stalwarts John Kerr and Ian Sinclair, both Scotland A internationalists, will take charge.