ATHLETIC have reason to be encouraged by their strong start to the season but Paul Watson insists they can do more to further improve.

The 29-year-old, who joined the club on a two-year-deal in June after leaving Dundee United, praised the “calmness” of his team-mates in responding to conceding their first goal of the campaign before coming back to win against Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Saturday.

Centre back partner Euan Murray’s equaliser was added to by Ryan Dow and Declan McManus late on as Dunfermline made it four wins from four in all competitions to begin their Championship promotion bid in the best way possible.

Watson has already experienced the feeling of earning a place in the top flight after United’s success last season, so knows what it takes to get over the line.

Heart of Midlothian – who began their bid for an instant return to the Premiership with a 6-2 win over Dundee – may be favourites to lift the title but Dunfermline have set their sights on challenging for at least a promotion play-off place.

Watson emphasised the importance of a good start, particularly in this shortened, 27-game season, but says there’s more to come from his Pars pals – which he hopes will continue at Alloa Athletic on Saturday.

“ It was a great start in the league for us and I think it was important that we got off to a good start,” he said.

“It was disappointing to concede the goal in the manner that we did at the weekend, especially for myself,; I thought I could have done better. But the way we reacted, because we’ve not been in that situation yet this year, going 1-0 down, we reacted really well.

“We’ve been pretty solid so far but there’s a lot more work to be done. Hopefully we can keep that going.

“We’ve always been ahead in the games so I thought there was a real calmness amongst everyone. We knew we would get chances, and with the quality we’ve got going forward, we know we’re going to get chances and were delighted to take them in the game.

“It’s a much shorter season so we know the start’s important, otherwise you could be too far adrift with too much to make up. With winning that game on Saturday it will give us a right confidence booster with the run of fixtures we’ve got.”

Watson, who revealed the received seven stitches above his left eye after the game following a clash of heads late on, played his part in setting up Dow’s goal from Josh Edwards’ free-kick.

His captain may be hogging the goalscoring headlines, he’s got four so far, but Watson is just happy that Dunfermline are causing so many problems at set plays.

“I’m happy to be a decoy for Muzz – he’s flying at the minute and hopefully that can continue,” he continued.

“It doesn’t matter who gets them as long as they go in. We look a real threat from set-pieces, which is good.

“The quality of the ball that Dom Thomas puts in is unbelievable and, to be fair, I should’ve scored on Saturday; I missed a bit of a sitter, didn’t I?

“It’s a big part of the game, set pieces, for and against. It’s something we’ve done on the training pitch a lot and you need to take advantage of the good quality that Dom’s got. We’ve been doing that and, thankfully, it’s been paying off.”

Looking ahead to Saturday, he added: “The way that they’re set up and the way they keep the ball means it’s very difficult to get after them. Sometimes you think oh, it’s Alloa, you’ll just overrun them and you should have a better squad or whatever, but it’s not the case.

“They’re a very well-drilled side in the way they shape up and keep possession of the football, but we’re going to go there full of confidence.”