Sean Heaver’s first-half double saw us safely into the third round of the William Hill Scottish Cup for the first time since 2016/17.
We had gone out at this stage in the previous two seasons, losing at home to Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale then Queen’s Park, but this was a comfortable win and the scoreline should have been much more emphatic.
Binos boss Kevin Rutkiewicz named an unchanged team from the one that drew 1-1 at Brechin in our last game a fortnight ago, with Josh Peters, Dylan Bikey, Dylan Mackin, Jordan Lowdon, Gareth Rodger and Fraser Scott all still ruled out through injury.
Gordon Nicolson’s men were making their first visit to Forthbank and were sitting 12th in the Highland League, having knocked out Lossiemouth in the previous round.
Heaver got us off to the perfect start with a goal inside eight minutes – the former Bannockburn forward got in behind the defence and beat keeper Michael MacCallum with a low shot. We then missed several good chances to add to our lead – Lewis Hawke’s header was cleared off the line, MacCallum denied Danny Jardine and also did well to keep out another effort from Heaver.
We eventually claimed the second goal right at the end of the half when Heaver gathered a perfect pass from James Creaney and beat the keeper with a confident finish inside the left-hand post.
Duffy, on for Hawke at the interval, should have made it 3-0 early in the second half but he nodded a Ross McGeachie cross wide from six yards and the ex-Airdrie striker missed another chance when he lashed the ball over the bar.
Blair Currie made a fine stop from Richard Tawse in a rare Strathspey attack but it was largely all Stirling. Heaver spurned a golden opportunity to grab his hat-trick, Paul Willis was thwarted by MacCallum when clean through and Jordan McGregor sent the ball over from close range at the end.
Stirling Albion: Currie, McGeachie, Creaney, Thomson (Wright 77), McLean, McGregor, Jardine, Nicoll, Heaver, Wilson (Willis 55), Hawke (Duffy 46). Subs (not used): Binnie (GK), Truesdale, Banner, Docherty.
Goals: Sean Heaver 8, 45
Strathspey Thistle: MacCallum, Tawse, Rennie, Duncan, Hardwick, Skinner, McShane, Morrison (Lisle 70), Fraser, Taylor (Hersee 75), MacMillan (Naismith 61). Subs (not used): Ligertwood (GK), MacLean, Mainland, Wilson.
Referee: Chris Fordyce