IN 2007, after the Italian rugby team scored three tries in the blink of an eye to secure a shock win at Murrayfield for the first time ever, the Scotland coach Frank Hadden was asked if he could offer supporters any crumbs of comfort at all. His reply was: "Well, naebody's deid, that's the first thing..."

And that's where the independence movement is at right now. Recent polls showing that public opinion is evenly split on independence feel like a big setback, but that merely shows how high our expectations had become.

Nothing has been lost yet, because not a single vote in the Holyrood election has yet been cast. That election is still there to be grabbed and won – even the most pessimistic poll suggests that if the vote was held now, there would be a comfortable majority for pro-independence parties, and that the SNP would be within touching distance of a single-party overall majority.

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And from there? Well, if the election goes our way, Yes at approximately 50% in the polls would be a wonderful starting-point for any indyref2 campaign.

The other good news is that there's some evidence that the polling situation may be stabilising somewhat after a few weeks of drift away from both Yes and the SNP.

A Savanta ComRes poll conducted in the last few days of February and the early days of March put Yes at 49%. The next poll was conducted from March 3 to 5 by Panelbase, and showed Yes at 50%. And then, most recently, another Savanta ComRes poll carried out from 5 to 10 of March had Yes at 49% once again.

That looks very much like a no change position over the last couple of weeks, which means there's no reason to automatically assume that there'll be any further drop for Yes.

READ MORE: SNP set for majority while independence support slips back, poll finds

Indeed, it's equally plausible there could be a bounce back in support for independence once memories of the SNP's recent missteps start to fade – although admittedly any finding that Nicola Sturgeon broke the ministerial code could complicate that process.

Many of us are haunted by the ghosts of 2016 and 2017 when the SNP ended up with poorer results than would have even seemed conceivable a few weeks before election day.

But there is one crucial difference between then and now, and that's the absence of a Ruth Davidson factor. The personal ratings of leaders are often a better predictor of election results than headline voting intention numbers, and the new Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross just doesn't seem to be cutting through in the way that Davidson did.

The National: Douglas Ross and Ruth Davidson in front of Edinburgh Castle

The jury is still out on Anas Sarwar, who has been in charge of Scottish Labour for an even shorter period, but anyone who has watched his "distinctive" performances in TV debates over the years is entitled to feel a degree of optimism that any campaign encounter between him and Sturgeon is likely to work firmly in the SNP's favour.

In a few weeks, then, we could be looking back at recent events as being just an unimportant bump in the road. But that depends to a large extent on our own efforts as Yes supporters, and our desire to win, as the campaign progresses.

A sense of inevitability about an SNP overall majority bred complacency for a long time, but statements like "I'm going to abstain even though I'm an independence supporter" are luxuries that none of us can afford any longer.

On the ballot paper in May will be the question of whether we want independence to be completely off the table until 2026 – and if our answer to that is "no", then we know what we have to do.