Stirling were knocked out of the SPFL Trust Trophy at Links Park as Montrose set up a last-16 meeting with Morton.
A fourth-minute penalty from Graham Webster proved the difference as Stewart Petrie’s men progressed against a much-changed Stirling side, who produced a good performance.
Binos boss Kevin Rutkiewicz made no fewer than eight changes to the team that beat Albion Rovers, with several players ruled out. There was a debut in goal for Callum Law while teenagers Robb Dryden and Sandy Carey also made their first-team bows as late substitutes. Rutkiewicz had registered himself as a player at the age of 41 in case of an emergency but wasn’t required to come off the bench.
There was a rare appearance for player/assistant James Creaney, with Ciaran Summers having left the club during the week to take up a job down south, and young Will Greenhorn made his first start at right-back.
Montrose, who had been knocked off top spot in League 1 at the end of August, made half a dozen changes but it was still a strong and recognisable line-up.
The hosts went ahead after being awarded a penalty inside three minutes. Captain Kyle Banner was penalised for a challenge on Craig Johnston and Webster converted the kick emphatically into the bottom right-hand corner – it was the sixth game in a row in which he has scored, five of them penalties.
The midfielder should have netted again right on half-time but his downward header bounced off the artificial surface and over the bar.
In between, Stirling played some good football and had more of the attacking threat but they couldn’t find a way to goal. Dylan Bikey should probably have profited after doing well to get beyond a defender – he tried to guide the ball low into the corner but Aaron Lennox made a smart save.
The keeper also did well to tip over a header from Banner after an excellent delivery from Daniel Scally. The former Forfar winger came closest to an equaliser in the second half after being picked out by Kieran Moore but Lennox made a good save to block his shot.
Montrose had an effort cleared off the line following a corner and Law was alert to a couple of shots from distance but Webster’s early spot-kick was the only goal.
Montrose: Lennox, Webster, Steeves, Quinn, Callaghan, Brown, Watson, Masson, Lyons, Johnston, Antoniazzi (Whatley 61). Subs (not used): Fleming (GK), I Campbell, McKelvie, Belford, Houghton, Smith, Baillie.
Goal: Webster pen 4
Stirling Albion: Law, Greenhorn (Dryden 80), Creaney, Cummins, Banner, Laird, Moore, Roberts (Grant 80), Bikey, Heaver (Carey 86), Scally. Sub (not used): Rutkiewicz.
Referee: Chris Fordyce