Some of the early-season pressure that had been growing on Bruce on the back of his side's slow start was lifted, as the Villans got off the mark with their first three-point haul of the campaign
Hourihane has struggled to match the heights set at former club Barnsley since making the move south in January, but the man in charge at Villa Park believes that certain members of his squad are now starting to settle nicely.
"I'm delighted for Conor. He's only been here for six months and found it difficult to deal with the expectations," the Birmingham Mail quotes him as saying. "The same goes for Henri Lansbury. We know they're good players and we have to bring them out of their shells so they can perform on the big stage here.
"That's difficult but that's what is expected. We bought them in January when the two of them were the top assist-makers in the division at Barnsley and Notts Forest. I think they have found very quickly you have to find that bit of confidence.
"They have been big players at Barnsley and big players at Notts Forest. They have to take it onto this big stage. It is not often today you see a midfielder score a hat-trick. It was terrific."
Andre Green also registered for Villa as they found the net four times in a league game for the first time since March 2015.