There was little on show in sub-zero temperatures to warm the cockles of a sparse crowd, but Stephen Quinn finished off a smart move in the 66th minute to Bruce's relief.
"It was never going to be pretty on the type of night," Bruce, whose side moved into second place, said.
"It was a horrible hard evening but if you're going to be successful and win leagues then you've got to sometimes come to places like this on a horrible night and get something. That's what we've done."
Following three consecutive defeats away from home, conceding four apiece at Bolton and Crystal Palace in their last two, Bruce was pleased to see resilience return to Hull's play.
"We wanted to make sure there was a determination about us not to concede and we reminded a few what their jobs are," he added.
"Before those two games, that's what we've built our season on - we've played some wonderful football but defensively, up until a week ago, we had the second best defensive record in the league.
"That's why we've got to the top because we haven't scored many.
"So we just needed reminding of what we're about and what we're trying to do. We were a bit more like it tonight."