FIRST Minister Nicola Sturgeon has destroyed a claim that an independent Scotland MUST join the euro in order to get into the European Union.

The FM hit back at Scottish Tory Douglas Ross's reference to a Times article published on Thursday, based on four anonymous sources, as "desperate" as the pair clashed at FMQs.

Sturgeon then quoted named politicians, including former Tory PM David Cameron and Labour MEP David Martin, where they stated that countries joining the EU would not be required to join the euro beforehand. 

READ MORE: Tory MP blames Mel Gibson for increasing support for Scottish independence

She also set out countries in the EU that still have their own currency - including Poland and Sweden.

Ross set out the claims in the article and asked, “who is lying to the Scottish people - the European Union or Nicola Sturgeon”. 

In a fiery exchange with Ross the FM hit back that she read the article with “interest”, adding “good journalism as always and would be expected” and pointed out that those quoted were not named.

“Not saying that they have no legitimacy, but I am going to give some named sources, in the words of Douglas Ross - direct quotes.

“‘Not all countries in the European Union will join the Euro’, former Prime Minister David Cameron.

“‘They are not going to force us to join the Euro’ highly respected former Labour MEP David Martin.

“‘No country has ever been obliged to join the Euro’, Graham Avery, former senior adviser of the European Policy Centre. 

“Just yesterday, here is the Deputy Director at the Centre for European Reform. ‘I'm not a Scottish nationalist, but euro membership doesn't get forced on member states’.

“And lastly, here we go…”

As shouting could be heard from the Tory benches, the FM added: “Douglas Ross doesn’t want to listen to any of that, I know he often flip flops on whether he agrees with Tory leaders or not but clearly he’s now disagreeing with David Cameron as well.”

READ MORE: Shell more than doubles third-quarter profit to £8.2 billion

Shouting over the rabble from the Tories, the FM went on to list numerous EU member states who have still retained their own currency - Bulgaria, Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Sweden.

A furious Ross then accused the FM of a “desperate start” and that she didn’t quote that it is a “criteria for countries entering into, not currently in the European Union, to join up the euro”. 

He added: “Nicola Sturgeon has been pretending that her plan to break up the United Kingdom would mean Scotland rejoins the EU, but that's not true. 

“The reality according to these multiple European Union officials is a Scotland separated from the United Kingdom would be refused entry unless it agreed to join the euro.”

Ross then added that the FM’s plan was to break away from Scotland’s biggest trading partner, the UK, with “with nothing to show for it in the middle of the global inflation and cost of living crisis”.

The Scottish Tory leader then asked the FM how Scottish independence could “possible be your priority right now?”

Sturgeon fired back: “The criteria that he refers to which is actually the Maastricht criteria was actually in place when Sweden joined the European Union 27 years ago, but Sweden is kind of proving the point…”

After the Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone interjected to calm the shouting from MSPs, the FM explained that Sweden still uses its own currency. 

She added: “It is utterly pathetic and desperate, but he wants to put it to the test, let's allow the Scottish people to look at all of these things and make a decision in a referendum. 

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak challenged over private schooling of daughters and Cabinet

“That after all is the democratic thing to do. 

“And let's not forget that the future the vast majority of people in Scotland want, which is one inside the European Union, is now only available to Scotland, if we become independent.”

At the end of the exchange between the two party leaders, Ross repeated his attack lines on a hard border, loss of trade with the EU and abandoning the pound, before adding “no security for people’s mortgages”.

Laughter erupted from the SNP benches, as the UK Government’s mini-budget under Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng caused mortgage rates to rise.

“I think that Ross should perhaps reflect on the fact that people across the chamber were not laughing with him,” the FM added.