Hibs are now undefeated in nine SPL matches to sit level on points with Rangers and two points behind leaders Celtic.
Falkirk were far from outplayed and had their chances, but Riordan was the difference between the sides to leave Hughes impressed at his goals and his all-round play.
He said: "What I have in terms of Riordan, Anthony Stokes, big Colin Nish and Merouane Zemmama means that if we're not quite at it we can still produce the goods. That is what happened.
"In the second half, Falkirk were the better side but they didn't create many chances and what I've got at my disposal got us in on the counter-attack.
"We all go on about Derek's goals, rightly so, but for me I'm looking at his work ethic and his fundamental sides of the game. That is what got him in the Scotland squad so I'm delighted he's doing that and getting goals."
Hughes, who was forced to withdraw goalkeeper Graham Stack at half-time with a stiff back, knows Hibs can play better and was relieved to see Riordan net another fine strike two minutes from time to seal the win.
He added: "I'll take nine games undefeated and we kept a clean sheet, but we're better than what we showed.
"It's always nice to know I have guys in my locker who can score goals. No matter how it's going they'll come up with the goods, and that was the case today."
Falkirk manager Eddie May conceded Riordan was the class act as his side stayed bottom. He said: "I think the difference in the game was Derek - two fantastic finishes.
"People may say the first one was an own goal but I think his technique deserves credit for the goal."
The injury-hit Bairns had a 'goal' chalked off in the first half just before Hibs scored, after the assistant referee ruled the ball had gone out of play before Ryan Flynn netted.
Hibs substitute keeper Yves Ma-Kalambay also tipped a Pedro Moutinho chip onto the bar after the break.
May added: "The referee and the linesman got it right as far as I'm concerned.
"They are not biased people, they are very honest, the officials, and I applaud them for making brave decisions.
"The ball must have been out. Our officials in this country are not corrupt or anything. I've no complaints at all."
Falkirk remain bottom but May's young team offer hope and he added: "We are slowly but surely getting it right.
"I've changed a few things that I needed to change, a different kind of player, and slowly but surely we're going to get there."
Hughes said of his former side's relegation battle: "I honestly wish Falkirk all the best in their pursuit to stay up.
"I had wonderful times with them as a player and manager and I've still got some great friends there."