Edward Ofere’s early goal secured Caley a 1-0 win at Dundee and when Saints and United failed to produce a winner, qualification for next season’s Europa League was achieved for the first time in the club’s history.
“I’m delighted to get the European spot,” Hughes said. “I thought in the second half we showed a different side to our game in that we sat in and tried to counter.
“It was a bit hairy at times but we got the win that takes us into Europe and that is fairytale story. It is remarkable what the boys have done.
“We have finished third, made Europe and got a Scottish Cup final to look forward to, so there is a lot of good things happening at Inverness.
“We are a small provincial club with 3,500 fans. We don’t have the budget of other clubs and I’m pleased for the boys to have success.
“They give me everything they have got. I have taken Falkirk and Hibs into Europe but this achievement is right up there.
“We had to overcome a few hurdles as we had to do without Richie Foran this season and we had to sell Billy Mckay. Even now at times I wish we still had Billy because he is a wee poacher.”
Dundee manager Paul Hartley said: “We’ve still got a lot to play for this season and people have got to understand that.
“People are playing for contracts and pride as well. You want to take as many points as you can. We need to make sure in the the next two games we’ve go for it.”