McFadden played 70 minutes in left midfield as Motherwell returned to second place in the Scottish Premier League with a win against the runaway leaders on Wednesday night.
The 29-year-old, whose last start was for Everton last season, produced a disciplined and mature display allied with some excellent touches as Motherwell triumphed thanks to Michael Higdon's 73rd-minute winner.
McFadden, who has not played a full 90 minutes since damaging his cruciate ligament in September 2010, said: "It's brilliant. I have not played much football in two-and-a-half years and I had not started a game since last May.
"That was the reason I came back - to get back playing again and to play in games that mean something.
"I'm not back yet. Considering I have not played a lot of football, I think I did myself justice. I worked hard and did a shift for the team.
"The more games I get, the better I will get."
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall felt McFadden's hunger and desire had rubbed off on his team-mates.
Such praise will be warmly welcomed by a player who was stung by what he felt was unfair criticism from Craig Levein over his work-rate following his last Scotland game, the 2-1 victory over Liechtenstein just before his serious injury.
"It doesn't matter what level of football you play at, you need to work hard," McFadden said.
"Maybe that has been levelled against me before, that I'm a luxury player and I don't work hard for the team.
"But you can see there that I put a shift in, and always have done.
"It's important, especially a team like Motherwell, that we have everyone pulling in the right direction.
"You can't be carrying players and I'm no different to anyone else. You have to muck in."
McFadden was delighted to claim three points after coming off the bench in consecutive defeats by Dundee United and Ross County.
"When I came back, I was supposed to give everyone a lift and it didn't look like that's what was happening," he said.
"It was important to get Saturday out the system and there is no better way.
"I thought it was an excellent performance and we thoroughly deserved the win."