Stirling produced an outstanding performance to hold our Premiership opponents to a draw before Hibs won the shoot-out 5-4 to pick up the bonus point.
A stunning David Wilson goal cancelled out Scott Allan’s first-half penalty and it was advantage Albion in the shoot-out when Blair Currie saved from Allan but Dom Docherty and Craig Truesdale were both denied by Chris Maxwell.
It was the first competitive meeting between the teams since the fog-bound Scottish Cup tie here in February 2001, which Hibs won 3-2. There were no problems with visibility this time round, with Forthbank bathed in warm sunshine for the Betfred Cup opener.
Paul Heckingbottom’s side went into the Group C clash as strong favourites but it didn’t turn out that way and man of the match Cammy Thomson almost grabbed a dramatic late winner for Kevin Rutkiewicz’s team before Hibs had an effort cleared off the line right at the end.
There were six new faces in the starting XI – Currie, Jordan Lowdon, Paul McLean, Lewis Hawke, Wilson, and Paul Willis but Kevin Nicoll and James Creaney were injured and Gareth Rodger was unavailable.
We contained Hibs well in the first half, with Currie making a terrific stop from a Christian Doidge header, but our hopes of reaching the interval on level terms were dashed in the 44th-minute. Stevie Mallan’s free-kick struck McLean on the arm, referee Greg Aitken deemed it worthy of a penalty, and Allan made no mistake from the spot.
Hawke had a penalty shout waved away early in the second half before Daryl Horgan missed a good chance for Hibs when clean through. We hadn’t created too much but our shape, work ethic and organisation was impressive and we were rewarded with 20 minutes left.
Wilson, a summer signing from Annan, would later score a perfect ‘Panenka’ penalty in the shoot-out and the equaliser was even better – a first-time shot that flew across the box and into the far corner of the net.
Albion were the better team for a spell before Hibs threatened in the closing stages but we held on for a point that not many expected. Next up is another home game against Arbroath on Wednesday.
Stirling Albion: Currie, McGeachie, Lowdon, Thomson, McGregor, McLean (Truesdale 57), Jardine, Docherty, Hawke (Mackin 65), Wilson, Willis (Peters 86). Subs (not used): Binnie (GK), Banner, Scott, Heaver.
Goal: David Wilson 70
Hibernian: Maxwell, Whittaker, Hanlon, Horgan, Doidge, Newell (Murray 72), Mallan, James, Jackson, Allan, Campbell. Subs (not used): Marciano (GK), McGregor, Shaw, Stirling, Mackie.
Goal: Scott Allan pen 44
Referee: Greg Aitken
Shoot-out in full
0-1 Tom James scored
1-1 Dylan Mackin scored
1-2 Daryl Horgan scored
2-2 David Wilson scored
2-2 Scott Allan missed
3-2 Jordan Lowdon scored
3-3 Stevie Mallan scored
3-3 Dom Docherty missed
3-4 Steven Whittaker scored
4-4 Josh Peters scored
4-5 Fraser Murray scored
4-5 Craig Truesdale missed