Instead the focus centred on new North End boss Simon Grayson, who was in charge for the first time after being appointed manager on Monday.
Grayson's new team came within 15 minutes of toppling the pre-match League One leaders, only being undone by a defensive error.
After Di Canio's resignation last week, Swindon certainly missed the Italian's volatile inspiration in a tepid first half.
Preston took the lead in the 51st minute when Will Hayhurst shot home from 15 yards after Stuart Beavon and Jack King had combined.
Swindon, in the hands of players Darren Ward and Tommy Miller, had to wait until the 75th minute to level.
Adam Rooney, who had been on the pitch as a substitute a matter of seconds, seized on a poor back pass from David Buchanan to slide a shot past goalkeeper Declan Rudd.