It was honours even at Borough Briggs as the promotion rivals battled to a draw.

Andy Ryan’s eighth goal of the season gave the Binos the lead just after the hour mark but defender Darryl McHardy equalised 10 minutes later.

It was a first draw of the season for the hosts, who had made a disappointing start to the resumption of lower-league football – losing 2-1 at home to Edinburgh City last before being thumped 4-0 by Ayr United in the Scottish Cup.

Stirling made the long haul north on the back of a Scottish Cup exit to Raith Rovers but Elgin remain the only side to have beaten them in 11 League 2 outings this season.

Binos boss Rutkiewicz was without Paul McLean and Dylan Bikey due to injury and made five changes to the team beaten 2-0 by Raith Rovers, with Cammy Binnie, Jordan McGregor, Kurtis Roberts, Declan Byrne and Ryan all returning to the starting XI.

The visitors enjoyed plenty of the ball in the first half hour and looked the more accomplished team during that period but couldn’t turn that possession into clear-cut chances and the best opportunities actually fell to Gavin Price’s men.

Smart Osadolor dragged his shot wide of the post from 18 yards after getting beyond the defence and former Albion striker Josh Peters lashed a volley narrowly over the crossbar.

The second half was a much livelier affair. Binnie made a fine save from a McHardy free-kick before Stirling broke the deadlock with a well-worked goal in 62 minutes.

Byrne took advantage of a defensive slip and pulled the ball back for Ryan, who guided a composed low shot with his left foot beyond keeper Tom McHale from around 12 yards.

Kurtis Roberts almost added a second soon after when his 35-yarder hit the top of the bar but instead Elgin were level in 72 minutes when McHardy found the net with a diving header from six yards after Russell Dingwall had whipped a free-kick from the right flank into a crowded box.

Elgin City: McHale, Cooper, Spark, McHardy, Bronsky, MacEwan, R Dingwall, Cameron, Osadolor (Brown 82), Peters (Hester 61), Sopel (O’Keefe 69). Subs (not used): Mailer, MacBeath, Wilson, T Dingwall, Loveland.

Goal: McHardy 72

Stirling Albion: Binnie, McGeachie, El Zubaidi (Meggatt 78), Banner, McGregor, K Roberts (Hamilton 90), Ryan, Wilson, Byrne (Heaver 90), Leitch (Kirkpatrick 78), Moore (Allan 78). Subs (not used): Currie (GK), Docherty, S Roberts, Mackin.

Goal: Ryan 62

Referee: Grant Irvine