Craig Forsyth felt the standing ovation he received from Derby County’s supporters at the weekend was the perfect ‘two-way appreciation’ following nine years of service.

The experienced defender was substituted midway through the second half of Derby’s 1-0 loss at home to Cardiff City in their final fixture of the 2021/22 Championship campaign.

Forsyth left the field to a standing ovation from the 29,400 crowd at Pride Park Stadium, with the left-back also showing his appreciation in return.

The 33-year-old is the longest serving player in Derby’s squad after joining the club from Watford in 2013, initially on loan in the March before signing permanently that summer.

Forsyth’s time with the Rams has seen highs and lows on the field, while he has successfully battled back from three serious long-term knee injuries.

Despite those spells out of action, he has still racked up 256 appearances for the club and been a popular and dependable member of the squad under several managers.

Forsyth, like many members of Wayne Rooney’s squad, is out of contract this summer and is awaiting news on what the future holds.

Regardless of what comes next, there’s little argument that Forsyth deserved the warm ovation he received for his services.

Forsyth told RamsTV after the Cardiff game: “When I came off, it was lovely to get that reception from the fans.

“It was nice to show my appreciation to them and for them to show theirs to me as well. I have been here a long time and always tried by best and given it everything.

“We don’t know what’s going on or happening for next year yet; we need to wait and see.”

He added: “Derby is home for me. I have been here nine years now and as a family we’re settled.”

The Cardiff game concluded what can be best described as an eventful 2021/22 season for the Rams.

A 21-point deduction, transfer embargoes and player departures are the stand-out off-field issues Derby had to contend with during the season.

Had it not been for the points deductions, 12 for entering administration and a further nine for a historical breach of profitability and sustainability rules, Derby would not have been relegated.

While Derby were unable to avoid relegation to League One, with the hurdles placed in front of them too big to overcome, Rooney’s side put up a brave fight to avoid the drop and their efforts were recognised by the supporters during a ‘Lap of Appreciation’ after the Cardiff fixture.

Forsyth said: “It was a strange game and it was disappointing not to get a result.

“It was nice afterwards to walk around and be appreciated for their efforts this year.

“Like I said earlier, it was also nice to thank the fans for their support too.”

Forsyth made 29 appearances during the 2021/22 season and scored three times, with all of his goals coming on home turf.