STEVIE CRAWFORD credited his Dunfermline players for a "professional" performance after they defeated Kilmarnock in the Betfred Cup last night.

Euan Murray's third goal in two games 10 minutes into the second half, and a double from Fraser Murray - including a stunning 30-yard free-kick - gave the visitors just their third win in their last 11 visits to Rugby Park.

Killie were playing their first match since a 1-0 win at St Mirren on September 26 after reporting six positive Covid-19 tests at the beginning of the month.

Their Premiership match with Motherwell, on October 2, was postponed, while last Tuesday's scheduled Betfred Cup tie with Falkirk - who were awarded a 3-0 win - was forfeited after the Ayrshire club's first team squad were advised to self-isolate for 14 days.

Alex Dyer elected not to field a team of youngsters against the Bairns but, for last night's tie, was able to welcome back more experienced players in the shape of goalkeeper Colin Doyle, and midfielders Chris Burke, Gary Dicker and Rory McKenzie.

After a tightly-contested opening period, Dunfermline stepped things up after the break and took the game away from their Premiership opponents, leaving them with three wins from three at the top of Group E.

They are now on the brink of reaching the knockout stages for a fourth successive season, and the head coach said: "I think professional is the right word.

"I thought it was a good, attractive game of football in the first half. We were limited to the chances we had and Kilmarnock caused us problems in the first half.

"I thought we were patient and, again, we've shown after getting the first goal that we've got goals in the team. There were some excellent deliveries and some excellent finishes that proved to be the difference tonight.

"I said after the Dumbarton game that we're a club that doesn't use the Betfred as a get minutes into the boys legs. We've managed to rotate the squad to get minutes into boys and we're very much looking forward to the league campaign starting on Saturday now.

"I don't know if we're through yet. We're just about there, so the Clyde game at this moment I think still means we've got to take something from it, but it's very pleasing."

Inverness Caledonian Thistle come calling in their Championship opener on Saturday and, while pleased with the momentum his new-look side have built, Crawford is taking nothing for granted against John Robertson's men.

"I know Robbo, from having played alongside him, I know what he's like," he continued.

"He's an infectious character and they'll be wary of coming down to East End at the weekend, but it's a game we'll look forward to but not get carried away with. I've said that to the boys as well; our recovery starts now.

"We're in a good place but it'll be making sure that we're fully focused on giving Inverness the respect they're due, but trying to get all three points on Saturday."

Home boss Dyer, despite the defeat, was pleased with the way some of his younger players handled the occasion, commenting: "They did alright alright the young boys.

"I knew the senior ones would run out of steam as well, because they had only trained a couple of days. I am glad that most of the senior boys got near enough 90 minutes under their belts and we look forward to the weekend.

"I thought the younger boys showed that they can handle the situation better than I thought they could. Credit to them; I thought that they worked hard and showed some good ability at times, but it is a big ask. Over 90 minutes it is hard work and that is the reason why I couldn’t play eleven of them last week.

"Playing three, four or five of them at one time is not so bad, they have learned a lot. They all did well.

"The rest of the boys who have been out for two weeks are in tomorrow, they are ready to come back and start training. We will just get going with the next two or three games and see how they are."