NICOLA Sturgeon appeared for her 286th – and final – FMQs on Thursday.

It is not for politicians to define their own legacy. Such assessments are made long after a leader leaves office, when time allows their impact to be judged fairly.

Whatever else Sturgeon has achieved, her deadly skill at the weekly question and answer session is beyond doubt. She was always quick on her feet and not easily flustered.

And while she wasn’t afraid to show her irritation at certain lines of questioning, you got the sense that she probably enjoyed the weekly grilling more than most leaders do.

The National:

Before FMQs got underway, there were hopeful sentiments from Sturgeon’s allies – and some opponents – that, given its historic nature, this final FMQs for the outgoing First Minister would be one characterised by grace and good wishes.

Douglas Ross heard those pleas and thought: f*ck that for a laugh.

The Scottish Tory leader began by asking about the SNP membership numbers stooshie.

The Presiding Officer (below) quickly intervened to say that the First Minister needed only to answer on matters that are government responsibility.

But there was big End-of-Term vibes in the chamber so the usual rules didn’t apply, and Sturgeon, with the air of contentment of a woman who knew she wouldn’t have to regularly talk to Ross again, decided to respond.

The National: Alison Johnstone in Holyrood

"If Douglas Ross wants a conversation about party membership figures, then that surely should be a meaningful one where we can compare and contrast. So before we go any further, will Douglas Ross share with the chamber how many members HIS party has?"

Reader, he would not. Which is a poor effort on his part, given he wouldn’t need to stray further than his own fingers and toes to add them up.

No doubt feeling emboldened by the First Minister’s imminent departure, Ross decided to test the patience of the Presiding Officer further, and accused the SNP of lying. When she attempted to remind him of the rules of the chamber (Thou shalt not accuse other members of being sleekit) – he doubled down, repeating the banned term.

READ MORE: Douglas Ross rapped over 'liar' accusation during Nicola Sturgeon's fiery last FMQs

At this point, the session descended into farce, as Ross slapped down backbenchers attempting to raise a Point of Order with the chair, telling them that it was against the rules to do so during FMQs.

At this point, Nicola Sturgeon was smiling serenely, no doubt imagining the large merlot she was planning to pour as soon as she put her “Out of Office” message on for the last time.

Alison Johnstone had clearly had enough, and she not-so-gently reminded Douglas Ross that SHE would decide when Points of Order would be taken, not him.

At this, the SNP benches broke into applause – an expression of support that is permitted under Holyrood rules but will land you ten years in jail if you try it down at Westminster.

The exchanges continued between the two leaders with increasing ferocity.

Nicola Sturgeon defended her government’s priorities and laid into the Scottish Tory leader for good measure.

“On the issue of priorities, let me point out that I am not the member of this parliament that missed a veterans’ event to referee a football match. I am not accountable to the House of Commons, I am accountable to this parliament.

“I know Douglas Ross has difficulty deciding which parliament is more important to Scotland because he’s got one foot in each, but I know which parliament is most important to the people of Scotland and it is this one, our Scottish Parliament.”

She went on: “I am proud of the record of the government I have led, through some of the toughest times Scotland has faced in recent history. But ultimately, the only people who will cast a verdict on the record of my or future governments are the people of Scotland.

“And in my time as First Minister, they have had eight opportunities to do that and on each, they have voted for me, the SNP and my government – that’s a record I’m very proud to stand on.’’

An Ipsos poll published on Thursday showed that, as she leaves office, Sturgeon enjoys the highest approval rating of any leader in Scotland. Which is not a bad shift, all things considered.