Match ends, Derby County 1, Rotherham United 0.
Jeff Hendrick scored the only goal with nine minutes remaining to give Derby victory over Rotherham.
Steve Evans' newly-promoted Millers gave an excellent account of themselves.
And they almost snatched a point in the last minute when Craig Forsyth cleared a Kieran Agard shot off the line.
But Hendrick's effort proved to be enough as he turned home Cyrus Christie's cross.
Derby boss Steve McClaren kept faith with eight of the players who started last season's Championship play-off final.
His team made a bright start, too, forcing a Rotherham side containing three new boys of their own - Paul Green, Matt Derbyshire and Kirk Broadfoot - on to the back foot.
The visitors did have chances but they needed excellent saves from Adam Collin to deny Simon Dawkins and Johnny Russell and keep them on level terms.
Rotherham continued to battle hard after the break, only for all their good work to be undone by Hendrick.
|Did you know?|
|Rotherham suffered their first opening-day defeat since losing to Brighton in 2006.|
The 22-year-old scored five goals towards the end of last season as Derby's promotion push intensified.
And he was in the right place to open his account for the new campaign, firing Christie's cross high into the net.
Rotherham fought back, though. Green thought he had equalised against his former club with a firm header, only for Lee Grant to make a tremendous save.
Then, in the last seconds, Forsyth came to Derby's rescue when he turned away Agard's goal-bound effort.
Derby manager Steve McClaren:
"Credit to our players, they have got through on character after the first 25 minutes when I thought we were excellent.
"We got a little frustrated and lost our patience a bit and I thought it was heading for a draw.
"But we have that quality to win games which we did in the end."
Rotherham manager Steve Evans:
"Derby supporters will go away and know their team was in a tough game.
"Sometimes you don't get what you deserve.
"Many people around the country thought when they saw we were away at Derby it would be lambs to the slaughter. But we aren't going to be lambs to the slaughter for anyone."
- 19HughesSubstituted forMascarellat 53'minutes
- 7DawkinsSubstituted forBestat 79'minutes
- 11RussellSubstituted forWardat 64'minutes
- 3SkarzBooked at 30mins
- 9RevellSubstituted forBoweryat 58'minutes
- 27DerbyshireSubstituted forSwiftat 70'minutes
- Kevin Friend
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Derby County 1, Rotherham United 0.
Attempt missed. Lee Frecklington (Rotherham United) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.
Corner, Rotherham United. Conceded by Craig Forsyth.
Attempt blocked. Kieran Agard (Rotherham United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Paul Green.
Attempt saved. Paul Green (Rotherham United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ben Pringle with a cross.
Chris Martin (Derby County) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Kári Arnason (Rotherham United).
Attempt missed. Jamie Ward (Derby County) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Chris Martin.
Craig Bryson (Derby County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Paul Green (Rotherham United).
Corner, Derby County. Conceded by Lee Frecklington.
Leon Best (Derby County) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Kirk Broadfoot (Rotherham United).
Foul by Chris Martin (Derby County).
Kári Arnason (Rotherham United) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Goal! Derby County 1, Rotherham United 0. Jeff Hendrick (Derby County) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Cyrus Christie.
Hand ball by Chris Martin (Derby County).
Substitution, Derby County. Leon Best replaces Simon Dawkins.
Foul by Jamie Ward (Derby County).