KEVIN O’HARA believes that delivering goals and hard-working displays on the park will help him gain the backing of Pars fans off it.

Last Friday, following the departure of last season’s top scorer, Kevin Nisbet, to Hibernian, the 21-year-old followed fellow forward Declan McManus and Kilmarnock winger, Dom Thomas, in signing for the club.

Dunfermline reached a mutually-agreed compensation agreement with Alloa Athletic, for whom he scored 14 goals last season, to sign O’Hara on a three-year contract.

The move reunites the Stirling-born player with Stevie Crawford, who he worked with while a youth player at Falkirk, but it took some supporters by surprise following a much-publicised incident with then Pars midfielder Dean Shiels.

Almost three years ago, following a bad-tempered Challenge Cup tie between the clubs at the Falkirk Stadium that saw Shiels sent off, O’Hara and team-mate Joe McKee were issued with notices of complaint by the Scottish Football Association.

Those related to alleged malicious comments made about Shiels’ missing eye and both players were hit with lengthy suspensions.

O’Hara, who apologised for the incident, was given an eight-game ban and admits he may have to win some Athletic supporters round.

But, while also thankful for a number of good wishes he has had since joining, he says he’s up for the challenge and ready to play his part in helping his new club mount a promotion challenge.

“I think it will take a few goals, just like anywhere, to get the fans on your side but I’m hoping the goals come quicker rather than later so they are,” O’Hara told Press Sport.

“Me and the manager spoke about it. From my point of view, and I’ve always said it, I made a mistake that day.

“What I did was wrong. I apologised that night to Dean Shiels, and I stick by my apology. What I did, I regret, and I just want to be in the Dunfermline shirt. I’m a Dunfermline player now and I’m here to score goals, do well for the club, and help get the club back to the Premiership.

“It’s not an excuse but I was probably young and caught up in the moment of a derby match, and at the end of the day, what I did was wrong. I apologised that night and it’s obviously matured me as a better person and a better player.

“At the end of the day, we’ve all been there as a fan; you agree with some signings, you disagree with some signings, but if they do well for your club, you’re going to be happy.

“That’s my aim.”

O’Hara had other options, which are believed to have included top-flight clubs, and Crawford said he has a “work ethic” and “hunger and desire” to prove himself in black and white.

“I know it was before my time but Kevin held up his hands and apologised the night that it happened,” he added.

“That doesn’t make things right but, to me, it shows a certain type of character again. It’s not to say that he’s proud of his actions; he’s served his punishment, he faced what he had to face.

“We all make mistakes in life. I think he showed a maturity and showed a wee bit about what Kevin is in terms of apologising and that he took the punishment that came his way.

“It’s an incident that he’ll not want to continue to go over. We can’t change it but I know that Kevin regrets his involvement in it, it’s happened, and he is just fully focused on giving his best efforts to Dunfermline.

“I know him from my time at Falkirk. I think he applies himself properly and has got a work ethic to his game.”