NICOLA Sturgeon has hailed a “stupendous result” for the SNP in the Scottish local council elections.

The First Minister was speaking at the Glasgow vote count after a tight race between the SNP and Labour. With just one ward left to declare - the parties were neck and neck with 35 councillors each.

But the SNP clinched it with thanks to Abdul Bastani, Maryhill, the second refugee to be elected in Glasgow after Roza Salih who was elected in Greater Pollok.

READ MORE: Scottish local elections 2022: Follow live results and updates

And Sturgeon said it was going to take a lot to “get the smile off my face” after the SNP managed to increase their vote share across the country, and even made gains in some unexpected areas.

Speaking at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow, the First Minister said that the SNP won the election “comfortably”.

She said: “We’ve increased our share of the vote, we’ve increased the number of councillors, I think we’re going to be the largest party in more councils after the elections than before the election, we’re in a majority administration in Dundee.

“It’s a stupendous result for any party in any circumstances - but 15 years into government it is really quite breathtaking.”

The National: Nicola Sturgeon with SNP councillors and activists in GlasgowNicola Sturgeon with SNP councillors and activists in Glasgow

When the votes were in the SNP had increased their overall number of councillors by 22 (453), with Labour coming in to second place and over taking the Tories with an increase of 20 councillors (282). The Tories lost a staggering 62 councillors, pushing them into third place.

The First Minister said it was clear that voters had enough of the Conservatives when asked what she believes cost them votes.

She said: “Cost of living but I just think a general disgust at the Tories frankly which is what I was picking up and I think it’s what they were picking up as well.

“A combination of things, partygate obviously, coupled with a sense that the Tories are out of touch on the cost of living and are not doing nearly enough, and I think just the way Douglas Ross shot himself in both feet and destroyed his own credibility has had a factor in this as well.

READ MORE: Glasgow Girl Roza Salih is first refugee elected in Scotland

“I think he showed, if I was being gentle, naivety, and if I wasn’t being gentle, a complete lack of judgment and leadership over the past number of weeks.

“That’s for the Tories to consider, I think the knives are out for him already within the Scottish Tories but I’ll leave them to worry about that.

“This is a devastating result for the Tories, let's make no bones about it, and I think it really has to spark a lot of reflection north and south of the Border for them.”

Earlier in the day, the National asked Labour leader Anas Sarwar if he thought Douglas Ross had done him a favour by U-turning to support Boris Johnson after partygate.

The National: The First Minister hailed a "stupendous result" for the SNPThe First Minister hailed a "stupendous result" for the SNP

Sarwar said: “If he did, I’m sure he didn’t do it intentionally.”

Sturgeon pointed out that this drop in Tory vote inevitably led to Labour gains. Asked if she would be prepared to go into a power-sharing deal with Labour at Westminster to keep the Tories out, she said: “I think I’ve fought three General Elections as SNP leader and in each of those I have said if the arithmetic lent itself to this we would be part of a progressive alliance to lock the Tories out.

“In each of these elections it’s been Labour who said no to that, so frankly I think it’s Labour that has to decide what’s most important to them, continuing to be ultra oppositionists to the SNP or defeating the Tories.”

The First Minister also said that she thought the second winners in Glasgow, after the SNP, were the Greens.

READ MORE: LIVE Scottish local council elections tracker: Maps and charts show results so far

Alba on the other hand, didn’t have any councillors elected. When asked for her reaction, she said: “I wasn’t in tears at that. I’m not surprised.

“There has been nothing that I’ve picked up on the campaign that Alba was going to register any support I saw the reaction in my own constituency at polling stations yesterday to people being offered Alba leaflets, I saw the almost physical reaction in some respects but that’s for other people to judge.”

The National also asked if the increase in vote share for the SNP and Greens bodes well for independence, she said: “We won the mandate for an independence referendum this year, I didn’t go into this election saying it was for a mandate for independence so I’m not going to say that after the event, we don’t need that, we’ve got that mandate.

“But the SNP have increased their share of the vote and the Greens have increased their share of the vote - is that good in terms of the standing of independence supporting parties? Yes, I think it is, but it doesn’t change the overall position in terms of the independence referendum mandate, the preparations for that continue.”