DOUGLAS Ross has denied he is being sidelined after the Scottish Tories drafted in Ruth Davidson to promote the Union after a poll predicted a supermajority for pro-independence parties.

The Scottish Tory leader said he is “delighted” Davidson is playing a prominent role in their election campaign.

Asked whether he was concerned Davidson was eclipsing him, Ross replied: “Ruth is one of the most successful politicians in Scottish politics, and she rightly plays a key role in our campaign going forward.”

He added: “It’s my team, my manifesto, my policies and I’m delighted Ruth is a strong, integral part of that team.”

The SNP and Labour have both claimed Ross, a football linesman, has been “put on the subs bench” because of Davison’s high-profile in their Holyrood election campaign.

But in a possible jibe at the fall out between Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond, Ross said he was pleased to have the “strong backing” of his predecessor.

READ MORE: Douglas Ross 'dropped to the subs bench' as Scots Tories draft in Ruth Davidson

The SNP’s depute leader Keith Brown had argued Ross and the Conservatives were in “panic mode”, and said: “Douglas Ross has failed so badly in his short time as Scottish Tory leader that when the campaign goes into panic mode, they have dropped him to the subs bench and rolled out Baroness Ruth Davidson to be Boris Johnson’s representative in Scotland

"He is used to being on the side-lines in his refereeing career, but now he’s there in his political career too – if the situation was so ‘mission-critical’, why is he not the man in the middle?”

“It is desperation from the Tories that the only option they have left is to wheel out Baroness Davidson before she skulks off to her £300-a-day job in the unelected House of Lords – she is the democracy denier in chief.

“In just over four weeks, the people of Scotland can re-elect Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister and put Scotland’s future into Scotland’s hands, not Boris Johnson’s by giving both votes to the SNP."

The remarks followed comments from Scottish Labour’s deputy leader Jackie Baillie who said: “Douglas Ross is used to spending time on the side-lines – but it’s now clear even his own party thinks he should be put on the subs bench.”

Ross, the Conservatives’ lead candidate on the Highland and Islands regional list, also told journalists that Boris Johnson would be involved in the Conservatives’ campaign although unable to say whether the Prime Minister or Chancellor would visit Scotland in person before polling day on May 6.

Speaking in a virtual press call, Ross said he expects “senior members” of the Westminster government to be involved in “promoting work for the UK Government has done throughout this pandemic” on issues such as the vaccine rollout and furlough scheme.

“Clearly the message from the UK Government is a positive one in terms of the number of jobs that have been protected, the massive additional support here in Scotland during the last 12 months to allow us to tackle this pandemic,” he said.

“Despite what Nicola Sturgeon tries to say, and the SNP originally being very against the UK government’s approach with vaccine procurement and the rollout, it has been a massive success.”

It comes as Panelbase research, for the Sunday Times, put the SNP on track to win a majority of one in May’s election, with other Yes parties set to gain.

The poll found the Greens are on course to gain two seats on the regional list, while Alex Salmond’s Alba Party was forecast to win six.

The results would give pro-independence parties 79 of the Scottish Parliament’s 129 seats, ramping up the pressure on Boris Johnson to agree to a second referendum.

READ MORE: Poll predicts Tories will be biggest losers as Holyrood gets 29-seat Yes majority

After the poll, Davidson told Unionists: “As a direct result of the pro-UK vote splitting and some votes going to small parties, the SNP are on course for a majority and the nationalists on course for a ‘super-majority’ that they would use to hold another referendum.

“It is now mission-critical for the future of the United Kingdom that we unite if we’re going to stop an SNP majority. It has never been more important that pro-UK voters stick together, just like we did in 2016.

“Analysis shows that backing the biggest opposition party is our only option to stop an SNP majority.

“No matter who you support in your own constituency – and I want people to vote for their local Conservative candidate – the only way to stop an SNP majority is by using your party list vote for the Scottish Conservatives.”