It was Savage's best performance in a Rams shirt and he emerged from the dressing room with Cristiano Ronaldo's shirt and his pride restored.
The midfielder, 33, confessed: "It's been a nightmare. People were saying that my legs had gone, I'm finished at this level and I believed it. It's been dreadful.
"This was the first time I've read horrible things about myself in terms of playing football.
"But the gaffer, who was right to take me out the team, told me to go out and play as I can. And I think I proved I can still hack it at this level.
"This was the best game I played all season. I was everywhere and thoroughly enjoyed it."