Our midfield star picked the ball up on the halfway line, left three defenders trailing before cutting inside Filip Tapalovic and racing into the unguarded box to slip his first goal for his country under Stipe Pletikosa.
Hughes said: "It was a very special goal and underlined what quality he has.
"He is going to be a big, big Premiership player and also just as important for us in the future.
"He has very quickly become a senior player with us, despite his age. He's influential and has great confidence in his ability.
"It was one of the great international goals that people will watch over and over again."
Elsewhere, Gary Doherty was back in the Irish side after missing out on the World Cup and won his ninth cap as a substitutue in the fine 3-0 win in Finland.
Milenko Acimovic's Slovenia completed a major shock with a 1-0 win in Italy and Jonathan Blondel's Belgium drew 1-1 in Poland but our other internationals were on the end of 1-0 home defeats.
Oyvind Leonhardsen's Norway lost out to Holland, Sergei Rebrov's Ukraine to Iran and Robert Douglas was selected ahead of Neil Sullivan as Scotland lost by the same score to Denmark.
Simon Davies scored what Wales manager Mark Hughes described as 'one of the great international goals' as his side drew 1-1 with Croatia.