STEVIE CRAWFORD praised Dunfermline's reaction and resillience to fight back and defeat Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Saturday.

The Pars head coach watched his side respond from falling behind to Nikolay Todorov's strike inside two minutes to earn a 3-1 win in their Championship opener at East End and continue their perfect start to the season.

Euan Murray's leveller - his fourth goal in just three games - midway through the first half was added to by efforts late on by Ryan Dow and Declan McManus to hand the hosts all three points.

Having already beaten Dumbarton, Falkirk and Kilmarnock in the Betfred Cup, it was another positive afternoon for Crawford's side and he was particularly pleased with their mentality after falling behind.

"Obviously I'm delighted after the initial setback of losing that early goal," he said post-match.

"Having watched it back in there, yes, there's things we can ask the defence to work on a little bit in terms of distances maybe, with some of the space between the players but it's an absolutely brilliant ball. I think sometimes we're too keen to look for our players making mistakes but it's a great delivery from the young boy (Daniel MacKay) and Todorov sticks it away really well.

"Inverness have been a team, certainly in my time as manager, that we've struggled to get a result against so the reaction was good. It's another great delivery from Dom (Thomas) and Euan Murray again attacking to get the equaliser.

"I felt, on the whole, we deserved the win today. As the game went on again we looked like we had goals in us, but I thought we looked a threat in the first half as well."

Both Dow and McManus notched their first goals this season and Crawford was keen to single out the latter, who returned to the club in the summer two years after leaving Ross County.

"Declan's proven last year (on loan at Falkirk, where he scored 24 times) that he's scored goals, Kevin (O'Hara) was scoring goals at Alloa, and I'm sure the two of them will contribute on that front," the head coach continued.

"We will play in a slightly different manner because they're different types striker from what Kevin (Nisbet) was, but I was delighted to see Declan's one. I think there's 10 minutes possibly of the game to go, he's running in behind, he's strong, he manages to stay on his feet - he's not throwing himself to the ground - and he gets his rewards with a really good strike to go on and get us that third goal.

"We've got off to a great start in the League Cup campaign but we've come up against a very good Inverness side. I know they were missing a few players but they've got a decent squad as well, Inverness, and we've managed to come away with the three points which is very pleasing."

Despite heading back north with nothing to show for their efforts, Inverness manager, John Robertson, felt his team could take plenty of positives away from East End.

Just 18 minutes after scoring, Todorov was forced off through injury, and Robertson felt that was a significant moment in a keenly-contested match.

"It's a big blow to us because obviously big Nikky's scored the early goal and he's a very good focal point for us," he said.

"He does the same job that McManus does for Dunfermline; he can hold the ball up, he brings other people into play. We thought it was a bit of a robust challenge - it wasn't a dirty challenge, just a hard challenge that we found incredible that there was no free-kick or any other action taken on it - and he's in unbelievable pain.

"It could be a rib, could be a lung, we don't know yet, so it was a blow but young Daniel MacKay's played through the middle before and he did fine. He worked away but we had to be a bit more accurate with our passes, we had to change the game and go shorter and into feet, which we did fine.

"We were ok with it, but it was a huge blow to lose him as a focal point. It didn't stop us getting the ball forward and getting into reasonable areas.

"With 15 minutes to go, we all felt, and I think both benches would agree, that the next goal would be the decisive one and Dunfermline got it.

"I'm frustrated for the players because I thought it was a very even game up until the second goal for Dunfermline.

"I thought we'd got to the stage where it looked like next goal the winner with 15 minutes to go; both teams were probing. I don't think either team was doing enough to get the winner at that time, I think both defences had done really well and they blocked a lot of attacks.

"There was a lot of long-range stuff without really troubling either goalkeeper and then (it was) our failure to deal with the set plays. We've spoken to the lads - we showed them how dangerous Murray and Watson are in the air, especially Euan - his goalscoring record so far has been superb.

"For him to get a free header for the first one is disappointing, and then it's not the loss of the header (at the second goal) - Watson gets up incredibly well - it's that we don't match runners. They've reacted to, or anticipated, the knockdown. It's a hell of a save from Mark Ridgers and he doesn't get the back-up he deserves when Dow knocks it into the empty net, so that was the disappointing aspect of it.

"You accept losing a header in the box, but the other lads have got to make sure they stick with their runners, and not one player but two players didn't do that.

"Then we have to chase the game. You're 2-1 down, you're chasing the game, and we were running out of bodies. We only had one fit striker before the game and we lost him to a hard challenge, so we were just throwing kids on at the end to try and get something, and we get caught on the break for the third.

"It's one of these things. There's lots of positives; as I say, thought we matched an in-form team for 75 minutes to the second goal, and then the heads dropped a little bit after the third goal, which is only natural because they put so much into the match, and we've come away with nothing."