Caley Thistle are looking to bounce back from defeat to Aberdeen when they face Partick Thistle at Firhill on Boxing Day.
But they already began that process when they pushed the Dons all the way after hitting three second-half goals in their 4-3 defeat.
And Hughes felt the players were only the victims of their own desperation to get back in the game when they conceded four goals in little over 20 first-half minutes.
"Their only crime was they tried too hard once we went a goal down," Hughes said.
"Aberdeen scored against the run of play and once they did that, give credit where it's due, Aberdeen were clinical, but we lost our shape because we were chasing the game.
"If that's our worst crime, it's not the worst thing in the world. It tells you they have got character.
"Once we got them in at half-time and settled them down a bit and gave them some instructions, they were a lot better. They restored a lot of pride.
"They are an honest bunch, even when it's blowing a gale outside, the effort and commitment and quality, all credit to them. They put everything into it."
One lasting fall-out from the defeat was a shoulder injury for skipper Richie Foran. The midfielder will definitely miss the festive period and further tests are required to determine how long the Irishman will be out for.
"He will be out for a couple of weeks anyway," Hughes said. "We are just hoping it's not worst-case scenario and it needs an operation. We will know when we get it scanned.
"Hopefully it won't be worst-case scenario and we get him back sooner rather than later.
"He has a real massive part to play at this club. He is very, very good in the dressing room, he plays a real captain's part on the pitch and off the pitch.
"I really feel for him and Richie will probably tell you himself he is probably his own worst enemy. He was in a position where he shouldn't really be - challenging in the box - but I don't think you can take that out of Richie. He's combative, he is all over the place and he wants to win."