Clark, who bagged 16 goals last term, started this campaign in similarly clinical fashion, hitting the net four times to help Allan Johnston’s side cruise to a 6-0 win in their Betfred Cup Group B opener.
Michael Paton also got on the scoresheet, while academy graduate Callum Smith made it a rout late on.
“Some of the finishing from Nicky was different class,” said Johnston. “He just has that habit of finding space in the box – the hardest thing to do in football. If we put balls in the right area, he will score. Last season he missed pre-season, yet he still scored a lot of goals.
“This year, he is fit and flying and is looking really sharp.”
Clark broke the deadlock after ten minutes by directing a sumptuous Kallum Higginbotham free-kick into the far corner and quickly doubled his money when he nodded home a wonderful Ryan Williamson cross. Paton made it three, fizzing a low drive beyond the helpless Marc Waters from the edge of the box.
Clark turned a Higginbotham delivery into the net to complete a 25 minute hat-trick of headers, before he rounded off a virtuoso showing by firing a shot beyond Waters after the break.
Seventeen-year-old substitute Smith added late gloss to the score, scampering on to an incisive through-pass and coolly slotting home his maiden goal for the club.