THERE was a hushed mood in Holyrood on the morning before Humza Yousaf was nominated as Scotland’s sixth first minister, a historic moment that saw the SNP MSP mark a number of firsts.

After a short and bruising campaign, there was a distinct calmness in the Garden Lobby on Tuesday morning, compared to last Thursday when Nicola Sturgeon was due to give her final speech and the foyer was buzzing with visitors with the gallery packed to the brim.

It was a more muted affair as Yousaf became the first person from an ethnic minority background to be nominated to become FM - a final confirmation at the Court of Session will seal the deal - but he is also the youngest, the first Muslim, and the first dad with two young children.

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Yousaf even joked during his speech after a successful vote that the FM’s residence had plenty of stairs, and his three-year-old Amal (watching from the Presiding Officer’s gallery with the rest of his family) would still find a naughty step within the official residence if she didn’t behave.

Reporters spotted Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross around lunchtime wearing a pair of blue jeans, a grey hoodie, and Nike trainers - he was trying to establish who Yousaf might be bringing into his Cabinet. Asked if he thought he had any chance of becoming Scotland’s next FM, he replied: “Well, I hope I’ll get 31 votes.”

The National: The family of Humza Yousaf in the public gallery of the main chamber after he was voted the new First Minister at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.The family of Humza Yousaf in the public gallery of the main chamber after he was voted the new First Minister at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. (Image: PA)

Ross, Scottish LibDem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar all put themselves forward for the vote to be installed as the next first minister, but only secured the votes of their party MSPs. The Scottish Tories have 31 MSPs.

Yousaf, with the backing of the pro-indy majority with the SNP and Greens, secured the top job in the Scottish Government with 71 votes.

Before the vote, there was a slow drip of MSPs coming into the Garden Lobby to grab a coffee and some lunch before the session kicked off.

Rumblings were that Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney were moving into the MSPs' office bloc. Their nameplates were being installed, and everyone was finding it strange that they weren’t in the ministerial tower.

This was partially confirmed when a grinning Sturgeon and Swinney emerged from the MSP corridor shortly before 2pm, heading to the chamber to vote for Yousaf to take over the reins.

The former first minister and her deputy looked comfortable in the back benches, with former cabinet secretary Fiona Hyslop on Sturgeon’s left, and the Scottish Green’s Ross Greer flanking Swinney on the right.

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By the time it came to the vote to elect the next FM, Ross had put a suit on, but accused Yousaf of “furthering the nationalist obsession” and said the SNP were “fiddling while Rome burns”.

After the vote, he paid tribute to Yousaf’s historic win, adding it showed that there are “no barriers to what you can achieve” in Scotland. However, seconds later, he said: “And that’s where the consensus will end.”

Scottish Labour leader Sarwar was a bit more gracious, noting that Yousaf becoming FM is “something our grandparents would not have imagined”. The pair have known each other since school, both attending the private Hutchesons' Grammar School in the southside of Glasgow in their youth, with Sarwar vowing to stand beside Yousaf to tackle racism and hatred.

The chamber erupted into applause at the sentiment, prompted by incoming deputy first minister Shona Robison, but when Sarwar made a reference to Swinney, the former DFM could be heard grumbling from the backbenches, he even heckled a few times during the opposition leader speeches too.

The Tories and Labour MSPs could barely contain their grumbling when Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater, now the only female leader of any of Scotland’s main five parties, stood to give her contribution to the session.

They laughed when Slater praised the Bute House agreement for trying to establish a “grown up politics”. Chief whip Alexander Burnett appeared to be rolling his eyes, while Russell Findlay was visibly chuckling.

Cole-Hamilton couldn’t resist touting the LibDem win at the Corstorphine-Murrayfield by-election, noting that the SNP had lost one third of the vote. What he didn’t mention was that the ward already had two LibDem councillors out of the three available seats before the by-election was called.

The National: Yousaf is the youngest person and first from a minority ethnic background to be nominated as FMYousaf is the youngest person and first from a minority ethnic background to be nominated as FM (Image: PA)

Yousaf joked that opposition leaders would probably “never be so nice to me again” and spoke from the front of the Chamber to his daughters and family who were eagerly watching from the gallery. He told how he had repeatedly been asked about his commitments to Scotland after 9/11, a nod to the racism he has faced throughout his life and career.

An emotional Yousaf said to those watching who may have felt as if they are not welcome in Scotland: “This is your home.”

During the short suspension of proceedings, Yousaf was spotted chatting to Angus Robertson, and nipping up to the back benches to give fellow contender Kate Forbes a hug. The Finance Secretary was on the very back row beside Annabelle Ewing, with Ash Regan in the row in front.

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After the vote, Yousaf embraced Robison, who he would later announce as his deputy, and gave his campaign manager Neil Gray a cheeky wink.

The day didn’t end there as Yousaf had to contend with a particularly squished reporter scrum.

The National: The press huddle following Yousaf's nomination winThe press huddle following Yousaf's nomination win (Image: PA)

Asked how many years before Scotland will become independent, Yousaf told the press pack: “I'm not sure but we will be working every single day we possibly can to advance the cause of independence.

“We know that the only way of getting there is building that consistent majority of anything and then of course, the process will take care of itself.”

He also confirmed that a minister for advancing the case for independence, revealed in this newspaper, was on his list of appointments to come in the following days.

After a photocall with his family, Robison and Yousaf left to pick their ministerial team, and a new era of the Scottish Parliament, and the independence campaign, begins.