THREE of the most memorable Derby County pictures of recent years have marked victories over rivals Nottingham Forest.
Two came from the same game, the FA Cup replay at the City Ground in February 2009 when Derby recovered from two down inside 14 minutes to win 3-2.
The image of Kris Commons, a Forest old boy, celebrating his winning goal remains vivid as does the one of Robbie Savage twirling a Rams scarf above his head at the end of what was a breathless contest.
A 1-0 win over Forest in September of last year produced the third of the trio of memorable images. It shows Craig Bryson celebrating in the net after scoring the only goal of the game, and in front of 4,500 Derby fans who had a perfect view of the moment.
Not surprisingly, Bryson chooses that moment as the highlight of his Rams career so far as he prepares to reach the milestone of 100 appearances for the club. The midfielder will chalk up his century when he runs out against Birmingham City at Pride Park today.
“That moment will be hard to beat in my Derby career. I have great memories of the day,” Bryson said.
Does it beat his stunning hat-trick in the 5-1 thrashing of Millwall at The Den earlier this season?
Bryson said: “It doesn’t get much better than that – the first hat-trick of my professional career – but I wouldn’t swap my winner at Forest.
Derby will be the third club at which Bryson has made 100 appearances. He played 111 games for Clyde and 135 at Kilmarnock.
“I don’t know what anybody else thinks but personally 100 games for a club is a big milestone,” Bryson said. “It shows loyalty to the club and shows the club has been loyal to you, as well as the managers who have picked you to play.
“You must be doing something right to get that many appearances. I am delighted to get that recognition at such a big club as Derby.”
Bryson was signed from Kilmarnock in June 201 for what now looks an absolute steal, £350,000 rising to £450,000.
Only Shaun Barker (105 games) of the current squad has played more games for Derby than Bryson and yet his aim on signing was just to break into the first team and play as many matches as possible.
“I can remember watching a few Championship games and noticing it was a step up from the Scottish Premier League,” he said. “I just wanted to come down here and try and make myself a regular in the team.”
He missed just two of 46 league games in his first season at Pride Park and was named player of the year.
He was rested for the Capital One Cup first-round tie at Oldham but otherwise has started every game this season.
He has scored six goals and has eight assists including a couple in the 3-2 victory at Watford a week ago.
Bryson said: “Scoring a few goals and creating a few goals is nice, but the most important thing is we are getting results.”
The 26-year-old believes the win at Watford is a sign of how good Derby can be on their day, but put the win in perspective.
He said: “It is only one result, so we need to keep it going when we face Birmingham City today.”
There have been changes at Derby this season with Nigel Clough sacked and former England boss Steve McClaren installed as head coach.
New players have also arrived, including loan signing Andre Wisdom from Liverpool earlier this week.
Asked how Wisdom has settled in, Bryson said: “Yes, very well. We did a wee shooting competition after training the other day and he had to make everybody’s tea because he came last. So he has settled in alright!
“Andre will do well for us. He has good experience playing for Liverpool in the Premier League.”