Terry Butcher insists he will not walk away from relegated Hibernian and wants to lead them back to the Scottish Premiership – if he is allowed.
The Easter Road men were demoted from the top flight after the former England skipper failed to half a disastrous run of form that has seen them win just six of his 28 games in charge.
They led Championship runners-up Hamilton 2-0 from the first leg of their play-off final but blew up spectacularly in the Easter Road return as they lost 2-0 on the day and, after extra time, 4-3 on penalties to join city rivals Hearts in the second tier.
It had been suggested before the game Butcher was ready to walk away from the Leith club, no matter what the result, while around 500 supporters gathered outside the stadium after the match to protest against Butcher and the board.
But the former Inverness and Motherwell manager says he is determined to help rebuild the shattered club.
“If it’s down to me I will be here,” said Butcher. “There was stuff on social media that I would be quitting no matter what the result was. But that was never the case. I don’t know where that came from. I want to continue, because I would like the opportunity to be able to restructure the club in the right way. I think that situation is out of my hands now.”
Jason Cummings’s double at New Douglas Park on Wednesday had put the Edinburgh men on the verge of safety.
But when Jason Scotland fired home after 12 minutes, the fear in the home ranks was palpable.
They held out until the 93rd minute but were undone when Tony Andreu slammed home a dramatic and deserved leveller.
With no more goals in extra-time, the match went to penalties but Hibs blinked first when Kevin Thomson saw his opening effort saved by Accies keeper Kevin Cuthbert.
Hamilton’s number one put the seal on their promotion party when he blocked Cumming’s tired effort.
Hibs were seventh when Butcher quit as Caley Thistle manager to replace Pat Fenlon at Easter Road but has now taken them back to the Championship after 15 consecutive years in the Premiership.
“You don’t know how I’m feeling,” he said. “It’s been like watching a car crash the last two or three months, and you do everything you possibly can to stop it and you just can’t. You just can’t halt the slide and you can’t halt the losses.
“Even today we’ve had opportunities to see the game out. Seventy-five seconds left and we’re 1-0 down, and I’m thinking, ‘okay, we’ll take a 1-0 defeat, that means we stay up’. But we can’t even do that.
“And then the penalties become a lottery. We miss the first penalty, too. We are where we are, and it’s not because of this game, it’s because of what we haven’t done over the whole piece, really.”
Accepting responsibility for the situation, he added: “I’m the manager of the football club. I’ve had plenty of opportunities to stop the slide and to have won football games – that’s my job. I haven’t done that enough.”