St Johnstone through to next round of Betfred Cup with big win over Stirling
St Johnstone cruised into the next phase of the Betfred Cup after brushing aside League One part-timers Stirling Albion 4-0.
Tommy Wright's side had the match all but wrapped up by half-time at McDiarmid Park with Steven Anderson, Steven MacLean and Liam Craig all scoring before the break.
Substitute David Wotherspoon then added a late fourth to complete the victory.
While it was a comfortable win for Saints, there were concerns for a late injury sustained by Albion keeper Chris Smith, who landed awkwardly on his neck handling an 80th-minute Paul Paton corner.
The former Dunfermline custodian was stretchered off with his neck in a brace and, with all three substitutes used, midfielder Eddie Ferns took over in goal after a five-minute delay as Smith received treatment.
Stirling announced soon after the match on their Twitter account that Smith had been taken to hospital for precautionary checks after being knocked out on the pitch
The club added that the 30-year-old was conscious and alert and said "the immediate concern of a serious neck injury has dissipated".
Saints needed just four minutes to take the lead with Anderson rising at the back post to nod home Craig's hanging corner kick.
Their second came in the 33rd minute, soon after skipper Chris Millar had limped off to be replaced by former Dundee United player Paul Paton.
Again Albion's defence was unable to cope with a Craig corner and, after Joe Shaughnessy won the initial aerial duel, MacLean headed in at the back post.
And two minutes before the interval the Albion defence was again caught napping when Craig advanced and enjoyed a free header to net from MacLean's cross from 12 yards and make it 3-0.
Wotherspoon, wearing a protective plaster cast on his arm, rammed home Saints fourth past stand-in keeper Ferns in the 90th minute as the hosts claimed top spot in the group.
Source : PA