The 57-year-old was still present for Sunday's Second City derby showdown with Birmingham, however, and saw his side pick up a 2-0 win - both goals coming in the second half - that lifts them up to second place in the Championship standings.
Salt was then rubbed into the wounds for Birmingham as Cheikh N'Doye was sent off in the 94th minute following an altercation with Mile Jedinak.
Goals from Albert Adomah and Conor Hourihane condemned the Blues to their 17th defeat of the campaign, with only Burton Albion and Nottingham Forest losing more times than Cotterill's side.
Here is a selection of the best reactions from Aston Villa fans from his first-half performance.
'But after we scored we really took control of the game.
'The passing of Jack Grealish was excellent and played a leading role in this important game. We'll enjoy the elation but we're all aware of what lies ahead.
Birmingham City fans, is this your lowest ebb of the season?
Calderwood paid credit to Bruce, who was on the touchline after a hard week following the death of his father Joe.
"He is a hard-working, experienced manager and he controlled everything terrifically well", his assistant, Colin Calderwood, said afterwards. The former took his tally to 13 for the season and has discovered a goalscoring habit since being switched from the right flank to the left.