Steve McClaren declared that ‘it was great to be back’ at St James Park on Saturday and Newcastle fans were equally happy to welcome him back…in the opposition dugout.

Despite Newcastle dominating most of the game and having 19 shots to the visitors’ 4, the former NUFC boss had bizarrely claimed (read HERE) that Newcastle hadn’t deserved to win and Derby had earned at least a point.

However, in comments from Derby fans we published on Sunday, the cast majority disagreed with their Manager and accepted that Newcastle were worthy winners, with the Rams only having a go in the final 15 minutes.

Even though doubted Newcastle being worth the three points on Saturday, Steve McClaren has no doubts as to who will be top of the table at the end of the season.

The Derby boss says he expects Newcastle to ‘definitely go up as champions’.

Whilst the Newcastle supporters have little to remember the brief McClaren fondly for, it is a different case where the one-time Head Coach is concerned.

He says that ‘Newcastle is a great club with great supporters’.

Steve McClaren was a definite nightmare at St James Park but Derby County looks to be a club where he is comfortable at and where he can get relative success.

That last quarter of an hour on Saturday saw the potential of a far more dangerous team if McClaren drops the negative approach – hopefully he can finally help Newcastle United by taking points off the likes of Brighton and Huddersfield, who Derby still have left to play in the promotion run-in.

Steve McClaren:

“It was great to be back (at St James Park).

“Newcastle is a great club with great supporters.

“The staff have always been good and I know the majority of the players, so it was always going to be a difficult afternoon.

“I was just focusing on the game but we came away with nothing, so now we move on.

They (Newcastle) have got a good squad but they were looking very nervous towards the end of the game but that is what the Championship is all about – you have got to grind out the results.

“Newcastle are capable of doing that and they have got the ability in the squad to continue.

“I expect them to definitely to go up as champions.”