Craig Bryson’s place in Derby County history came six years ago today.
The Scotsman moved to Pride Park Stadium in the summer of 2011 from Kilmarnock under Nigel Clough.
The midfielder made 276 appearances for the Rams in total, scoring 42 goals, prior to returning to Scotland last summer after signing for Aberdeen.
Bryson’s finest moment in a Derby shirt came on 22nd March 2014.
He hit a hat-trick as the Rams thrashed their local rivals Nottingham Forest 5-0 in the Sky Bet Championship at Pride Park Stadium on a historic afternoon.
Bryson’s treble, his second of the 2013/14 season, was the first by a Derby player against Forest since the great Steve Bloomer in 1898.
A popular player amongst supporters anyway, that day elevated Bryson to legendary status.
He hit 16 goals that season as the Rams reached the Play-Off Final, while he also picked up the Jack Stamps Player of the Year accolade and was named in the PFA Championship Team of the Season by his peers.
“Like I said in a few interviews, it was one of the best days of my life,” Bryson recalled when speaking to RamsTV last summer after his departure from the club was announced.
“I don’t think going into that game against Forest I could have ever imagined I would score a hat-trick or that we would win 5-0!
“Leading up to the match I’m sure we hadn’t scored in our previous four, so I think we just wanted to go out there and win in any way that we could.
“On a personal basis it was just unbelievable. To score a hat-trick is amazing in any game but to do it in an East Midlands derby was special. It’s a day I’ll never forget and to beat 'them' 5-0 was even more sweet.
“It’s remarkable what one game and one performance, and one hat-trick, can do for you and touch other people so much. I suppose I have lived a lot of Derby fans’ dreams and I am delighted with it to be honest.
“Every time I meet a Derby fan, they mention that day and thank me for it. It’s nice.”
Bryson always enjoyed the local derby clashes with the Reds and enjoyed a reasonable record.
Four of his 42 Derby goals came against Forest, with his other strike coming in a 1-0 win at the City Ground in 2012.
He was also in the side that memorably won 2-1 with ten men for almost the entire game in September 2011.
He admitted: “Those are the games you look out for straight away. Even when Derby’s fixtures for this season came out, and I wasn’t going to be here, I had to look for when the Forest games were.
“The atmosphere in those games is always completely different, as is the way you get yourself up for the match.
“I know you should be up for every game in the same way but when it comes around you know what it means to the fans and the whole club.”
The full RamsTV interview with Craig Bryson, looking back on his time at Derby County, can be found in the video embedded within this article.