Derby, who dominated possession from start to finish, were caught with a sucker punch in the first half when a miss-hit shot dribbled into the path of Kike, who put the North Yorkshire side into the lead.
Central midfielders Jamie Hanson and Jeff Hendrick were forced off with injuries following two bad tackles and left the Rams in a bad predicament as they chased the equalising goal.
Nevertheless, with less than 10 minutes of the game remaining, Russell was able to take advantage of some clever movement by Chris Martin to find a space in the box and fire past the excellent Dimi Konstantopoulos.
Scott Carson - 7
Chris Baird - 6, Richard Keogh - 8, Jason Shackell - 7, Stephen Warnock - 7
George Thorne - 7, Jamie Hanson - 6, Jeff Hendrick - 5
Andreas Weimann - 5, Chris Martin - 5, Tom Ince - 6
Subs: Ryan Shotton - 6, Johnny Russell - 6, Darren Bent - 5
The back five were constantly in the game and had the lion's share of Derby's touches of the ball. Warnock and Baird dealt with the threat of Stewart Downing and Albert Adomah excellently and Keogh put in his second excellent performance of the week. The former Leeds United man, in particular, can be proud of his performance considering the criticism of his selection prior to the match kicking-off.
Thorne, who made over 100 passes in a game for the second time in a week, was responsible for setting up Derby's only goal but could have been more incisive with his play as the Rams look a little laboured in possession. However, the whole central midfield was guilty of just that, showing just how much of a loss Will Hughes could be if he isn't replaced before the window shuts.
The front three, including Bent and Russell when they got on, looked completely isolated from the rest of the side and found it hard to find space and create a good chance at goal. The failure upfront wasn't for a lack of endeavour, as they all worked hard, but the service into them and the quality from them should have been much better.
Shotton, who replaced Hanson, had a jekyll and hyde performance as he flashed from the sublime to the ridiculous within the same passage of play at times. He will need to show a lot more if he is to win a regular place in Clement's side in the future.