Yannick Bolasie clinically scored the game's only goal for the promotion hopefuls, but it was Speroni's string of saves - culminating in deflecting Conor Sammon's 87th-minute spot-kick on to the bar - that were crucial to the Eagles earning a first away win since November.
"I think he's a wonderful person," said Holloway.
"It's not just what he's like with his gloves on; he's a wonderful human being. I think he epitomises the club - we're fresh, we're hungry, we want to do it. He's been player of the year three times in a row so he's definitely a fans' favourite, and he was absolutely outstanding.
"It's nice to get that monkey off your back and it took a marvellous save from our goalie - I thought he was inspired. That's why he's got his own bar at our ground. To do well you need a really good goalie and he's proved that."
Holloway had some sympathy for Derby, who worked tirelessly to find an equaliser after Bolasie rounded home keeper Adam Legzdins when Mile Jedinak's thunderous challenge in his own half ricocheted kindly for the Frenchman.
"They've had a lot of bad luck. They've got a young side who are so enthusiastic and they probably deserved better than they got, but we've got to take that and try and move on," said Holloway.
"We all looked a bit nervous at the end, myself included, because we want it so bad. I'm going to enjoy this because we're in with a shout of automatic promotion and that's fantastic for everybody at the club."
County manager Nigel Clough agreed with Holloway's assessment. He said: "We can't ask much more from the players, not just the effort but the level of performance. To come off without so much as a point for our efforts is very harsh on the players.
"We've got to improve a bit on our finishing, but we're not getting any breaks in the penalty area. We've got in some great positions and put lots of good crosses in - the players have done nothing wrong."