TENSION was palpable as we reached the final leaders’ debate of Holyrood21. Would it be a Line of Duty anti-climax or a Rumble in the Jungle knockout?

Nicola was in saintly white cream and the guys in ill-fitting M&S suits – except for Patrick Harvie who was his usual natty, tailored self. A feisty debate was had by all.

Boris Johnson prize for irony: Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross says that “we’ve got to be more honest with the public”.

Best reply: “Why we are discussing this?” – Scottish LibDem leader Willie Rennie rightly declines to debate silly plan for a new royal yacht.

Having your cake and eating it: Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar condemns austerity but says he has “presumption of no tax rises over next parliament”.

Terminology least likely understood by new EU voters: “Fairer taxation” (translation: tax rises).

Back from the grave: All-round support for national collective wage bargaining (last heard of under Jim Callaghan).

Laying it on the line: First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says she “won’t countenance an illegal referendum”.

Most irritating catchphrase: “Nicola Sturgeon has taken her eye off the ball” (drones the referee).

Best barb: Sarwar wounds Ross over not backing NHS pay rise.

Biggest surprise: Sarwar says that “we should not be afraid of doing things differently in Scotland”.

Best bank manager impression: Rennie.

I’m in charge moment: When a smiling First Minister tells fatuous Glenn Campbell “can we not have a proper debate?”

Post-pandemic exit lines: Everyone says they want to hug their relatives.

Who’s learned most on the debate trail: Former dentist Sarwar was more self-assured by the day.

Issue strangely missing from the debates: Gender.

Final countdown: Douglas Ross (-5), Willie Rennie (1), Patrick Harvie (7), Nicola Sturgeon (7), Annas Sarwar (8).

My idle thought when the chat got predictable: What’s happened to the FM’s usual campaign helicopter?

See you in 2026 ...