It was a win achieved against a side that had unceremoniously sacked him two and a half years ago.
At the time of Hughton’s dismissal, Norwich, then a Premier League side, were five points clear of the relegation zone with five games of the season remaining. In a typically dignified statement Hughton spoke of his disappointment at the decision but said he was “totally confident” he would have kept Norwich up.
He didn’t get the chance and the Canaries went down anyway.
Fast forward to last Saturday and there was more woe for Norwich as Hughton’s Brighton’s thumped their promotion rivals, a side who left Robbie Brady on the bench until the 74th minute.
Brighton’s seventh league win in the last nine games kept them within touching distance of leaders Newcastle and Hughton was understandably elated.
“We had to perform well today and I thought we were magnificent,” he said.
“It was never just another game, because we were playing a team that were around us in the league table, and there was always going to be a little more significance.
“The win is right up there with my best (Brighton victories); it would be silly of me to say anything different.”
Elsewhere, Derby’s Irish contingent played key roles in their 2-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday.
Cyrus Christie and Alex Pearce scored the Rams’ goals but the game’s most contentious moment came when Richard Keogh handled a goal-bound shot on the line.
“Keesy (Keogh) made a great save without his gloves on and we rode our luck in that,” Derby boss Steve McClaren conceded.
Reflecting on his goal, Christie said: “I just found myself in the right place at the right time to get my head on to it.
“I probably could have had another one in the game and Benty (Darren Bent) was on to me saying that I could have had a hat-trick today!
“On another day, perhaps I could have scored more than one, but it was just good to get on the score sheet.”
David McGoldrick was also on the scoresheet, his injury-time strike earning Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich a 2-2 draw with Rotherham.
“This is a tough time for all of us but maybe a late equaliser can be a turning point for us,” McCarthy said.
In League One a brace from Paddy Madden helped leaders Scunthorpe to a 4-1 win over Swindon, Aiden O’Brien netted in Millwall’s 2-1 win at Oxford United, Stephen McLaughlin scored in Southend’s 1-1 draw with Shrewsbury Town while Darren Potter was on the mark in the MK Dons’ 2-1 defeat at Sheffield United.
There were three Irish goalscorers in League but all three efforts came in a losing cause.
Pádraig Amond scored in Hartlepool’s 3-2 defeat at Barnet; Mark Connolly grabbed a consolation goal in Crawley Town’s 3-1 loss at Carlisle while Patrick Hoban’s couldn’t stop Mansfield Town from losing 2-1 against Stevenage.
And in the Scottish Premiership, Aaron Doran was on the mark as Inverness drew 3-3 with Hearts.