DO not feed the seagulls. The message was loud and clear. Ahead of the visit of Dunfermline, those in charge of such matters at Queen of the South insisted they’ve tried everything to minimise the nuisance caused by the birds. Supporters were urged to bin leftover food. The ultimate sanction, ejection from the ground, was the threat to anyone caught deliberately feeding the gulls.

During the close season, Stevie Crawford rummaged through the lower leagues for talent in much the same way as seagulls scour Palmerston for discarded chips. Dunfermline swooped in on their targets quickly and got their summer business done early.

Thirty-four-goal Kevin Nesbit made the short journey from Kirkcaldy to lead the line for Crawford’s new-look side.

Sometimes unfairly tagged as merely a goalscorer, the 22-year-old is as adept at jostling for position with burly central defenders and linking with team-mates as he is at nestling the ball in the bottom corner.

And while Saturday wasn’t one of his better performances, he is currently playing with a swagger which has seen him net six times in his first six matches.

His former Raith Rovers colleague Euan Murray was also brought in and has finally found a manager who wishes to play him in his actual position, while Kyle Turner, who lit up Stair Park on numerous occasions last season, has become a fans’ favourite.

It was he who opened the scoring on Saturday, expertly creating space for himself before curling the ball past the grasp of Queen of the South goalie Robbie McCrorie.

Ryan Dow, like Nesbit not at his best at the weekend, has made an explosive start to his East End Park career after spending most of last season on loan at Peterhead.

The National: Ryan Dow has shown early season promise for DunfermlineRyan Dow has shown early season promise for Dunfermline

Meanwhile, Paul Paton – who was part of one of the worst Falkirk sides of all time and who has suffered a pair of relegations in the last three years – is an effective screening midfielder in the Scottish Championship and brings the leadership qualities that have seen him appointed club captain.

The one time Crawford looked to the Premiership for new recruits saw Aaron Comrie brought in from St Johnstone. He has proved a dependable option at full-back and barely gave one of Queens’ key men, Conor Murray, an inch at the weekend.

Moving quickly in the transfer market culminated in a settled squad going into the Betfred Cup group stages.

Defeat to Edinburgh City aside, the strategy paid off. Three wins, 13 goals and progression to the next round the result. A trip to Celtic Park the reward.

So how come, after such a promising start, Crawford’s side have only managed to take two points from their opening two league matches, despite taking the lead in both?

The answer lies in the contrast between their first- and second-half performances being as stark as the contrast in the weather from minute to minute across the country on Saturday as Scotland was battered by several torrential downpours punctured by searing sunshine and uncomfortable humidity.

Crawford’s side begin matches with a high intensity, taking the game to their opponents. And with the attacking talent they possess, they have the ability to capitalise. The issue appears to be carrying that over into the second half, sustaining it over 90 minutes. The opening day League Cup clash against St Mirren, for instance, saw them blitz their opponents and score three times before only just holding on to that lead by the time the referee blew for full-time.

It was a similar story in the opening-day league draw with Dundee. Granted, they were partly undone by a poor penalty decision, but the Pars were second best after the break.

Even in the two matches they have won comfortably – their Betfred Cup victories over Albion Rovers and East Kilbride – they have performed better in the first half, scoring eight of their 10 goals in the opening 45. Overall, Dunfermline have won five and drawn one of their first halves, scoring 14 of their 16 goals so far this season in these periods.

Contrast that with the fact they have won just two second halves – against Albion Rovers and East Kilbride – and have lost the other four.

Those four include Saturday’s draw with Queen of the South. Dunfermline had a series of opportunities to add to their advantage after Turner had given them the lead and probably should have been out of sight by half-time. After the break, they struggled to get a foothold in the game and, true to form, were lucky to escape with a point in the end.

With this being their eighth season outside the top flight, Pars fans crave a return to the big time. To do so, they will either need to capitalise on early chances and put games to bed sooner or else add a resilience to their game so far absent from their second-half performances.