Craig McAngus is a lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the University of Aberdeen

I THINK there are broadly two options now for the Scottish Government. Both require a referendum. The issue will be the legal basis of such a referendum.One is that they go for the Edinburgh agreement version two where the UK Government agrees to allow Scotland to have a referendum and that would lead to acts of parliament.

I think Nicola Sturgeon has been quite clever in the way that she has framed this because she has laid down the gauntlet and almost dared Westminster to say no.

The Scottish Government could also hold a referendum even if the UK Government does not agree to it because she can go to Brussels and say: "We want to stay, we want to remain part of the European Union, our people democratically voted twice to remain and be an independent state within the EU so that is a double mandate, can you help us out in that respect?"

Then, it is almost like a unilateral declaration of independence; it is appealing to the EU to be allowed to stay in while the rest of the UK negotiates its exit. I think those are the two realistic options open to the SNP and I do think the Scottish Government would go down the latter route if it felt it necessary.

In her speech yesterday, the First Minister was very bold in putting talk of a referendum out there, but she was also quite cautious. She hedged her bets a bit, talked about opening up channels with Brussels and other member states, and being involved in the discussion.

If you declare your independence through the channels of the European Union it adds legitimacy and weight to that argument. It is not an isolationist approach, it is an inclusive one.

We have to consider whether this referendum will happen. I think it’s very likely to go ahead, but we have to remember that in the manifesto there were two aspects to a referendum being called. The first was a material change in circumstance, and that has happened. The second was continued and sustained support for independence among the Scottish people – and the answer to that, we don’t know.

How does Brexit make your average Unionist, who voted no because they felt it was risky to leave the UK, change their views on independence and how important is the EU in the overall calculation in their mind? That is the key issue.

Surely the SNP will conduct their own research and polls to see what support for independence is looking like. If it’s looking like a 55 per cent to 45 per cent for independence, it’s game on, I think.

Recently I carried a survey of fishermen in the UK who were very Eurosceptic. Would the prospect of being an independent Scotland in the EU be something that fishermen in Scotland would be worried about? Probably, because the majority of them voted no.

It is a bold but cautious strategy by Nicola Sturgeon and I think the pro-independence movement will have learned from last time. I believe the Leave vote will strengthen support for independence but will it be enough?