Steve Evans heaped praise on “awesome” Matt Derbyshire for spearheading Rotherham’s 4-2 win over a Bolton team managed by the Millers manager’s hero.
Derbyshire struck a superb goal and had a hand in two others as the home side ran into a four-goal lead at the New York Stadium, Ben Pringle, Conor Sammon and Paul Green the other men on the mark.
Bolton hit two consolation goals late on through substitute Liam Trotter and makeshift striker Matt Mills, but it was not enough to prevent Rotherham picking up only a second victory in 16 games.
Afterwards Evans singled Derbyshire out for special praise in earning his team three points against one of his heroes in Neil Lennon, saying: “I’m a Glasgow Celtic supporter so Neil Lennon is a God to me.
“I said to my players he’s a God to me and it’s going to be hard to beat God’s team. I knew they would be meticulously organised and they would work for him.
“We’re absolutely delighted because we asked the players to be full of endeavour and spirit.
“It’s a stunning goal from Matt and I thought he was absolutely awesome for an hour before he tired a bit. Conor Sammon got the benefit of his hard work with his goal too.
“Derbyshire was the only player who knew last night he was playing because I told him last night.
“He was absolutely exceptional in training yesterday and he is a confidence boy and he needs people to love him.
“He’s had to endure some flak but he won’t need his car to get home. He can fly home and use his arms. It wasn’t just his goal, his all round performance was stunning.”
Bolton manager Lennon, whose side had only lost once in their previous 13 matches in all competitions and held Liverpool to a 0-0 FA Cup draw at the weekend, fumed at a decision which he felt cost his side at 2-0 down.
Josh Vela appeared to have been brought down for a penalty that was not rewarded. Just moments later Green made it 3-0.
Lennon said: “We didn’t get a fair refereeing performance. Everyone in the stadium saw the tackle on Vela was a penalty apart from the referee and in the end Rotherham go down and make it 3-0 instead of it possibly being 2-1.
“It was a good time for Rotherham to play us. We just have to accept this one and come back really strong for Wolves on Saturday.
“We looked leggy. The exertions of Saturday evening definitely took its toll and I think the season is just biting us in terms of the strength in depth in the squad.
“I’m very proud of the players. Their character second half is great but in the end I’m having to put a centre half in at centre forward to give us that bit of strength up front.
“We’re just a little bit short at the minute but (Adam) Le Fondre coming in will make us better, there’s no question of that. We could have done with him tonight.”