Derby County midfielder Craig Bryson put in a much-improved display as the Rams dealt struggling Bolton Wanderers a 4-0 thrashing.
The Scotland international became the subject of heavy criticism from supporters for his display at Blackburn Rovers. Bryson came in for the popular Duane Holmes and had an evening to forget as Derby lost 2-0.
Holmes was consequently ruled out of the Bolton encounter with a reported quad injury. It provided Bryson an opportunity to immediately put the Ewood Park horror show behind him and he excelled.
Bolton arrived at Pride Park facing relegation and in dire form. It was expected to be a comfortable home victory for Derby, but that shouldn’t detract from some superb individual performances.
Mason Mount bagged an incredible hat-trick. Martyn Waghorn put in a fantastic centre-forward display that was only lacking a goal. Jayden Bogle at right-back further enhanced his budding reputation. But Bryson should also get a special mention for a performance reminiscent of his 2013/14 days.
How Craig Bryson put Bolton Wanderers to the sword:
Bryson opened the scoring for Derby with a drilled near-post effort on 37 minutes. The former Kilmarnock man then could have had another in second period, only to be denied by an excellent save. He played further forward and made those trademark penetrating runs as Bolton simply couldn’t handle him. Moreover, the experienced midfielder racked up an 88.9% pass-accuracy rate while creating one clear chance.
The 32-year-old is out of contract this summer and expected to leave the Midlands club. Bryson isn’t the player he once was, largely due to his age, but supporters shouldn’t forget everything he has done for the club.
Bryson will forever have his mark in Derby’s history books. He netted a memorable hat-trick in the 5-0 demolition of dearest rivals Nottingham Forest in 2014, and in time he will surely be viewed as a Pride Park cult hero.