Sofien Moussa continued his love affair with the Betfred Cup as his double set Dundee on their way to a comfortable win.
Dundee supporters heralded a new hero after the Tunisian-born striker bagged five goals in the group stages of this competition last year. But the 30-year-old failed to kick-on from his impressive start in a dark blue shirt and failed to score from open play until April Fools’s Day.
Much-maligned Moussa looked desperate to make an impression as he was industrious in the opening stages but his profligacy in front of goal again frustrated the sizeable travelling support.
Before opening the scoring, the marksman had already missed several golden opportunities with the most glaring coming when he somehow stabbed wide when unmarked just six yards out and with the goal at his mercy.
To his credit, though, Moussa refused to be deterred and he was eventually rewarded for his hard work when he gave Dundee a deserved lead after 38 minutes.
Despite looking offside, the striker did well to chest down a floated ball by captain Genseric Kusunga before rifling into the net on the stretch.
Before Moussa scored the opener, the visitors had made an impressive start to the game and Elton Ngwatala, a recent arrival from Kidderminster Harriers, had the first shot on target of the afternoon when his low drive from 25 yards was comfortably saved by Cammy Binnie in the Stirling goal.
Stirling Albion adopted the fashionable 3-4-3 formation which allowed manager Dave Mackay to combine the experience of Mark Stewart and Peter MacDonald upfront with the exuberance of youngster Neil McLaughlin, who recently joined on-loan from Motherwell.
Albion battled impressively to weather the early storm and a mix up between captain Kusunga and goalkeeper Jack Hamilton presented the ball to MacDonald inside the area but his floated effort was easily cleared off the line by the covering Cameron Kerr.
Neil McCann gave debuts to four new summer signings and highly rated Craig Wighton was awarded a start after an injury ravaged couple of seasons.
The 20-year-old possesses a great natural talent but he was subdued during the opening period until he burst into life on the stroke of half-time. Wighton nutmegged his defender on the left flank before beating another and driving into the box and forcing Binnie into a diving fingertip save.
The visitors came flying out the traps after the break and only a brilliant sprawling stop from Hamilton kept out Jason Marr’s powerful header from a Daniel Jardine corner.
But with the hosts looking to get back on level terms, Dundee broke and doubled their advantage through that man, Moussa. The increasingly impressive Wighton advanced into the box before standing up a delightful cross to the back post that Moussa gleefully headed home.
Dundee’s superiority shone through as the game progressed and Moussa turner provider, teeing up Jean Mendy to fire into the bottom corner for his first Dundee goal on 65 minutes.
Despite Moussa’s double, the star of the show was Wighton and he capped off an encouraging performance with a brilliant fourth. He breezed beyond two defenders before curling home beautifully with the outside of his right boot.