HUMZA Yousaf has praised analysis from a top business journalist who argued that “all it takes to unleash the anger from those intent on doing Scotland down is a simple setting out of the numerical reality”.

The First Minister shared the article in The Herald written by its business editor, Ian McConnell, saying the piece was “well worth a read”.

In his column, McConnell had highlighted from the Royal Bank of Scotland’s latest purchasing managers’ index (PMI), which was published on Monday.

The PMI said that, among the 12 nations and regions of the UK, Scotland was placed third in the growth stakes in March, with only London and Northern Ireland faring better.

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McConnell said that the facts in such reports were often secondary to political opinions when it came to assessing Scotland’s economic position.

He wrote: “There is what at times seems like a relentless narrative from some quarters that the Scottish economy is a basket case. Of course, this talk often seems to be based on entrenched political views, including in many cases constitutional opinions.

“And it appears that many of those who would paint the economy in Scotland as being in a much weaker state than that everywhere else in the UK sometimes actually believe their own propaganda.”

McConnell added: “However, for people who prefer to look at the official data and survey evidence on the Scottish economy for themselves, and form a fact-based opinion on how the nation is faring relative to other parts of the UK, the sometimes furious doomsaying may be a frustration.

“It seems that all it takes to unleash the anger from those intent on doing Scotland down is a simple setting out of the numerical reality, with politics left firmly out of the equation.

“Of course, we must bear in mind that the economic fortunes of Scotland will only diverge so much from those of the rest of the UK, in no small part because the big policy levers on this front remain firmly at Westminster. One simple and very important example of this is that Scotland cannot escape the hugely detrimental economic effects of … Brexit.

“This example tends to aggravate the doomsayers, in some cases perhaps even more so because they know it is the simple reality of the situation.”

The article was shared on social media by the First Minister, who highlighted that "Scotland outperformed the UK as a whole in terms of growth in business activity in the private sector last month”.

Scottish LibDem finance spokesperson John Ferry, who has stood for the party at two Westminster elections but is not an elected politician, took issue with McConnell’s article.

Ferry wrote: “Not sure who the 'Scottish economy doomsayers' are here, but I suspect this is a deliberate mischaracterisation of those rightly pointing to the clear evidence that Scottish secession would be economically disastrous.”

He added: “[Scotland] doing well within the UK obvs shows we're #BetterTogether!”

You can read McConnell's full article here.