Richard Keogh was pleased to see Derby County return to their defensive best in Sunday’s goalless draw at local rivals Nottingham Forest.
The two sides were unable to be separated in another typically tight and evenly-contested local derby clash at the City Ground.
Derby had to play out the latter stages of the match with ten men after midfielder Tom Huddlestone was sent off for a second bookable offence.
The Rams had the better chances with David Nugent and Tom Lawrence forcing a fine double save from Costel Pantilimon in the Forest goal, while at the same time limited their local rivals to no shots on target over the 90 minutes.
The clean sheet was the Rams’ first in six games in the Sky Bet Championship and Keogh felt the side deserved the shut-out after producing a calm and assured performance in the cauldron-like atmosphere in Nottingham.
Derby remain fifth in the table with nine games left to play and Keogh felt the draw, meaning Gary Rowett’s side have taken four points off the Reds this season, should be viewed as a positive result in their quest to finish in the top six come the end of the campaign.
He told RamsTV: “I thought it was a good performance from our point of view and we had the better chances.
“On another day we could have come away with all three points. Their goalkeeper made two great saves at the end of the first half and that probably highlighted the fine margins which aren’t going our way at the moment.
“When we went down to ten men we used our experience and saw the game out and it’s a good point for us. Every point is valuable in this league and we might look back on this draw later in the season and view it as a crucial point.
“We got ourselves a clean sheet and it’s nice to get back to that. I thought we looked calm and assured in our performance and especially as a back four; when we play like that we’re a good team. We kept their attacking players quiet and I don’t remember Scott Carson having a save to make.”
Before a full house at the City Ground, Keogh felt Derby stepped up to the plate and produced a good performance as they sought to taste victory for the first time since early February.
Ahead of the game he called for the side to show bravery on the pitch – and the defender wasn’t left disappointed.
He said: “We knew we had to be up for it and, in a local derby, you have to match the high intensity that comes with it.
“I thought we did that well and, as I said earlier, we looked calm and assured in possession.
“We stood up to the challenge and enjoyed the occasion.”
Keogh made his 550th appearance in club football in the game and was pleased to achieve another career landmark.
Although he was disappointed not to mark the occasion with a victory, Derby’s skipper was content enough with a clean sheet and a point on the board.
He said: “To make 550 appearances is nice and to do it in this game is obviously special.
“It seems like the time has flown by since I made my 500th appearance last season. This one has really crept up.
“It would have been nice to top it all off with a win today; but I’ll take a clean sheet and a good performance.”