It wasn’t quite a repeat of the momentous victory over Rangers here on October 6 but this was another terrific result for Greig McDonald’s vastly-improved side.
The Binos brought a frantic February to an end by racking up a sixth match without defeat, ending the runaway leaders’ sequence of nine straight league victories going back to that astonishing autumn afternoon.
In truth, Stirling probably played better on Tuesday night and were well worth their draw, despite falling behind in the early stages of an encounter played on an increasingly frosty surface.
Northern Ireland forward Andy Little gave Rangers the lead after 16 minutes when he seized on a pass from Dean Shiels, rounded keeper David Crawford and slotted home his 22nd goal of the season but Stirling were never overwhelmed and equalised six minutes after the break when Ross Forsyth bulleted a header beyond Neil Alexander from Kieran McAnespie’s free-kick on the left.
Forsyth, on loan from Dumbarton, hadn’t scored since October 2010 when he netted in a 1-1 draw with Dundee at Forthbank, but what a time for the left-back to end his drought.
You expected an onslaught from Ally McCoist’s men after that but it never came. They had chances, notably when Mark Ferry cleared off the line from substitute Fran Sandaza and in stoppage time when Little fired straight at Crawford but Albion, who fielded winger Josh Flood in place of the injured Graham Weir, didn’t deserve to lose.
They now head for Elgin tomorrow (Saturday) and Berwick on Tuesday attempting to close the gap on the clutch of teams above them and looking like a team transformed from the early part of the campaign.
That triumph over Rangers in October was book-ended by some miserable results – they went into it on a run of five straight losses in Division Three and were brushed aside by Montrose in their next outing - but Albion are stronger now and restricted the Ibrox men to a limited number of opportunities.
It might have been different if Little hadn’t rattled a shot against Crawford’s legs in the first half and he also failed to find the target after latching on to a poor pass-back after the break, but Albion weren’t hemmed back and carved out openings of their own.
Brian Allison, back in the team after a two-match ban instead of Gary Thom, headed narrowly wide from a corner, Ferry lashed a 20-yarder past the post and McAnespie came close with a free-kick.
McAnespie’s dangerous deliveries always looked the most likely source of a goal and so it proved when Forsyth was left in splendid isolation to equalise and leave McCoist bemoaning his side’s fragility at set-pieces as their massive advantage over Queen’s Park was trimmed to 20 points.
It’s remarkable that Stirling have gathered twice as many points against Rangers than East Stirlingshire and the draw was enough to edge them a point ahead of bottom club Clyde on a night to remember.