Relief was the feeling that met just a second win in 16 matches for Rovers which should relieve any lingering doubts surrounding their Championship status for next season.

They had to come from behind, goals from Sam Gallagher and Harvey Elliott sealing the victory after Tom Lawrence had put the relegation-threatened Rams in the first half.

Rovers shouldn’t have any such concerns now, though that will leave little celebration given their expectations at the start of the season, an indication of how far their season has fallen.

However, as in April 2019, an out-of-form Rovers came up with a victory against the same opposition when it was most needed.

Rovers were dealt a blow ahead of kick-off, a groin injury ruling out captain Darragh Lenihan, as Jarrad Branthwaite came in for his first start in 10 games, while Lewis Holtby was back in the midfield three as Tom Trybull dropped out.

There an understandable anxiety sweeping across Ewood Park, but it was the visitors who settled the better in the opening stages, Rovers far from the side that blew the Rams away in the early exchanges of their September meeting.

They did have the games first two efforts, Harvey Elliott curling over, before captain for the night Adam Armstrong saw his free kick kept out by an acrobatic David Marshall save.

Despite that, the feeling was very much that it was the visitors who were having the better of things, and they stormed into the lead at the midway point of the half. Rovers stood and watched, first as Nathan Byrne’s cross from the right drifted to the opposite flank where Craig Forsyth delivered into the six-yard box where an unmarked Tom Lawrence was able to head home.

Efforts from the edge of the box then came at regular intervals, first Graeme Shinnie’s shot, which took a deflection, forced a save out of Thomas Kaminski on the half hour before Lawrence was wasteful from a free kick in a central area after Lewis Holtby was booked for a challenge on Shinnie.

By this point Rovers were second best by a distance, the visitors first to every loose ball. They were hesitant in and out of possession, demonstrating a lack of clear thinking, and with it came a real disjointed display.

Things could have got even worse, Patrick Roberts couldn’t have been much closer to finding the corner as he whipped an effort goalwards, and with Kaminski beaten, it flashed past the post in the 38th minute.

So there was a real sense of relief for Rovers when they came up with an equaliser three minutes before the break. It was simply executed, a corner won by the willingness of Ryan Nyambe, delivered by Barry Douglas to an unmarked Gallagher to head beyond David Marshall.

Even then Rovers continued to live dangerously, Louie Sibley found unmarked on the left edge of the box, seconds after the equaliser, Kaminski getting a touch to his shot to ensure that relief wasn’t shortlived.

The Rovers midfield looked off the pace, Derby breaking into space at will, and not afraid to try their luck from distance, starting the second half on the front foot despite that setback late in the first.

Yet Rovers still had Armstrong, and you would have backed the striker to tuck Rovers into a 52nd minute lead as the loose ball broke to him in the box, but he was denied again by another sprawling Marshall save. He was to be again, just before the hour, this time Lewis Travis the provider, Armstrong running off Andre Wisdom, but his attempted dink of the Scotland international was read by the ‘keeper.

The two were beginning to have a game between themselves as things started to open up, Joe Rothwell off the bench to feed the striker, a well-hit left foot strike requiring Marshall to gather at the second attempt.

By this point Rovers were left thinking if there was a beyond Marshall, but they found one 66 minutes in, Elliott’s shot from the edge of the box having the necessary power to break the hands of the ‘keeper.

It was a first time in seven matches Rovers had been ahead, but they were never likely to do things the easy way, with their next attack Derby winning a free kick from which Kaminski denied Lawrence, and Nathan Byrne’s follow-up came back off the post.

Rovers had tried to settle the game down after going ahead, but their remained nerves, as well as a Derby threat, Kaminski coming up with a key save to keep out a Kazim-Richards header from eight yards.

There was a scare in injury time, Kaminski palming away a Byrne corner which looked to have caught him out, while late penalty appeals went unnoticed, as Rovers held out.