"I'm disappointed that we didn't get the three points," McLeish was quoted as saying on the club's official website.
"We started a little bit slowly, Derby got out the traps, pressed us and played some nice intricate passing in midfield and got running at our defenders. But we settled into it and started to show some more composure. It was a rotten equaliser to concede.
"The players showed tremendous commitment until the final whistle and hopefully they are starting to believe in themselves a bit more."
Forest are currently 10th in the Championship.