HUMZA Yousaf has revealed his “one wish” for the SNP’s 90th birthday today – and coincidentally, his own.

“That wish is an easy one. It's a really easy one,” the First Minister told The National.

“I wish Scotland was an independent country, and that we were even further along our journey than we currently are.”

The party which has come to dominate Scottish politics for most of the past two decades was founded on April 7, 1934, gaining just 1.3% of the vote in the 1935 UK election – and not a whole lot more than that until the 1970s. 

“Whether it's a personal birthday or an anniversary of some sort, you do a lot of reflection,” Yousaf – who turns 39 today – said.

READ MORE: Behind the scenes: 48 hours on the campaign trail with Humza Yousaf

“I've been thinking about not just the last 90 years in terms of how far we've come. I think about 20 years ago when I joined the party in 2004. Polling for independence was probably around 30%, sometimes lower.

“Ten years ago – when the referendum took place – one poll put independence support at 51% and the entire Westminster establishment imploded.

“Fast forward 10 years and we now are consistently at 50%.

“We are the biggest political party in Scotland by quite some distance – 17 years in government.”

He added that the party are “not being complacent” and there’s still “a way to go because the job ain’t done yet” until Scotland is independent.

“So, a lot of reflection on where we've come from – but also very confident and pleased about the progress we've made," he said.

The SNP leader was speaking after three days on the campaign trail ahead of the next General Election – with polls indicating that Labour could be breathing down the SNP’s neck.

The National:

Two days in the Highlands and Islands was followed by a whirlwind tour of three constituencies on Saturday – Hamilton & Clyde Valley, East Kilbride and Central Ayrshire, the latter of which saw him learning the Gaelic language and teaching basic Urdu and Arabic to the 65 Club in Prestwick, a social hub for over-55s.

Yousaf told the Sunday National that he “genuinely enjoys” campaigning and now feels more “energised” and “confident” about the party’s chances at the next General Election.

“I was confident before but I’m more confident now because I've met activist teams right up and down the country who are doing the hard work and doing the hard graft.”

He added that he’ll also be “clear and unequivocal” that it will be a “tough” election.

It comes after the most recent poll by YouGov predicted that the SNP are not set to win a majority of seats and will trail behind Labour.

For Scotland, the YouGov survey predicted the SNP would win 19 seats to Labour’s 28. The poll put the Tories and the LibDems, meanwhile, on five MPs each.

Recently polls have produced widely varying predictions on the distribution of seats in Scotland.

“We have Labour challenging us in the central belt. We know that for sure,” Yousaf said.

“We know they’re well resourced – they have big corporate donors in a way that we don't. We rely on our membership for donations.

“But I'm very confident because of the message that we have when it comes down to focusing on policy substance.”

Yousaf added: “When it comes to Labour, they're offering little more for Scotland in terms of how to escape what is economic decline from the UK.

“Whereas we can offer a lot more hope because actually there is a better way with independence. It doesn't have to be like this.”

The National: The Scottish Labour leader could be asked about JK Rowling’s criticisms of the legislation

The First Minister also was keen to stress the “calibre” of SNP candidates, adding that the party is “prepared” and in “good financial health”.

“We're well ahead of the other political parties in terms of selection of candidates,” he said.

“And I think it speaks volumes that Labour in Scotland haven't selected candidates in the majority of Conservative seats.

“How on earth can they be expected to take the fight to the Tories when they literally don't even have candidates against the Tories except in a handful of seats?”

Yousaf said, however, that as “good” as the candidates are, “it genuinely comes down to the activists”.

"Travelling around the country as I have been over the last few days, my real worry would be if I didn't see activists motivated and in good numbers. I would be really worried and having a very different conversation right now,” he said.

“But I have to say they're coming out in their droves. They're motivated, they know that we're facing a challenge.”