Despite dominating for much of the game, the Highlanders lost 1-0 at home to Romanian side Astra in their Europa League second qualifying round first-leg tie thanks to Constantin Budescu’s 24th-minute free-kick.
Hughes had warned his players against allowing dead-ball specialist Budescu chances to shoot, and they paid the price for Ross Draper’s sliding foul on Brazilian winger William.
“I’m disappointed about losing the goal, especially the way we lost it,” Hughes said. “They were well warned about Budescu’s quality from dead balls and we gave away a cheap free-kick and got punished.
“We dominated the game but we just needed to be a bit more cutting in the final third and get there quicker.
“But we played against a good side and they got men behind the ball and we just need to move it quick.
“One or two need a bit more fitness and I think it told as the game went on. But I’m very proud of the boys.
“We are still in the tie. I just spoke to their coach, I don’t know if he understood me but he praised our style of football and gave me a look to say ‘you are still in the tie’.”
Astra coach Marius Sumudica feels his team have a “small advantage” because of the away goal but warned that his side must be careful in the second leg.
The Romanian added: “It was cold here but it will be different next week because in my country today it was 37 degrees. I have a question for you – when is it summer here?”