Assistant boss Sam Hird stressed Barrow AFC’s players earned their celebrations after beating Exeter City.

Star striker Sam Quigley fired the resurgent Bluebirds to a last-gasp victory to ease their relegation fears.

Rob Kelly’s charges moved up to 20th with this win and opened up a healthy nine-point gap over their relegation rivals.

Patrick Brough opened the scoring in first-half stoppage time before Quigley’s late second.

Pierce Sweeney pulled one back after Quigley’s 13th goal of the season but Barrow held on for a vital three points.

“They have earned it, they have really earned it,” said Hird.

“They have done everything we have asked of them and more since the gaffer [Rob Kelly] has come in.

“We’ve come back in as staff and we’ve set them up to be hard to beat.

“We’re good on the break, exciting going forward and we offered all of that tonight and in abundance.

“I think over the course of the game we deserved it.

“Broughy’s goal was vital. He took it well and he gets up and down the pitch so well.”

And Hird praised his side’s battling qualities as they undoubtedly showed their desire to remain a Football League club.

The Grecians were huge favourites heading into the game due to the clubs’ respective league positions.

And Hird added: “The two goals were good goals, but I don’t think we had many more chances.

“We had a couple of good ones, they had a couple of half chances.

“I thought we defended well on the night. They’re a good side and offer a massive threat going forward.

“We dealt with it really well. I think they will get play-offs so it’s a great result.

“I think they are good at what they do. They like to link a few passes and then it’s coming.

“They have a few runners, they’ve got threats and I think at times we got too deep.

“We were urging them to get up down the sides, but I think in the main we defended well.

“I don’t think they had too many chances on our goal so huge credit has to go to our team.

“Sometimes league position can dictate the way you play.

“We’re not a free-flowing football side, we have decent spells, but we’re organised and disciplined.

“We try to be exciting. I think in the first half and early in the second half with the way they played meant we needed to get our wing backs out more.

“If they pushed to our wing backs the space was out with their centre halves where I thought our front two gave them problems.

“As you say on the rare occasion where we did that in the first half we scored the goal.”