Kevin Nolan scored the only goal of the game in the 74th minute on Monday and moved Newcastle back to the top of the Championship table.
“For me it’s a massive result. You’ve got to take it all into context,” he told Sky Sports.
“We lost Ryan Taylor in the warm-up before the game. Andy Carroll played, he was ill all day, and had no right to be out there.
“These (Preston) are a quality side. I’ve no doubts they will be there come the end of the season.
“To come here and get a result. It’s testament to that group of lads in there.”
“When we took him last season we knew he had goals in him,” added Hughton on Nolan.
“We’ve used him in a couple of positions, breaking from the middle and playing off the front.
“He’s an experienced player with an eye for goal and you can always count on him.”