BACK in January 2015, Scottish Labour knew they were in trouble.

Almost 200,000 Scots who’d once voted Labour backed Yes in the previous year’s independence referendum.

These, Labour said, were “the most important voters in the UK”. They were mostly older, mostly men, and mostly living within 25 miles of Glasgow.

Under Jim Murphy, the plan was to stave off the SNP challenge by appealing directly to “Glasgow Man”, shoring up Labour’s once unassailable dominance in the city where only a red rosette would do.

Later that year it lost all its MPs there to the SNP, turning Red Clydeside yellow.

Paul Sweeney’s Glasgow North East win in 2017 gave the party some hopes of turning that around.

But on Thursday night any ambitions of clawing back control of these urban areas fell away long before counting had really begun.

While not triumphant, the SNP members working at the seven-seat count were confident.

Some ballot boxes, The National was told, were up to 60% clear before a single non-SNP vote was found.

And by 4am Sweeney had lost Labour’s only Glasgow constituency as the SNP once again took all seven areas.

In the foyer bar of the cavernous SEC venue, where concerts and conferences had given way to the count for one night only, Labour members gathered in small numbers to drink coffees.

Inside the hall itself, small groups spoke in hushed tones as Anas Sarwar, who’d challenged for the Labour leadership after Murphy stepped down, told The National he has no plans to replace current head Richard Leonard. “I have no desire, no want and no interest,” he said. “I’ve been there and done that.”

The National: Anas Sarwar has previously challenged for the leadership of Scottish LabourAnas Sarwar has previously challenged for the leadership of Scottish Labour

And he said that again and again in a string of interviews with broadcast and print journalists alike.

The SNP’s Alison Thewliss succeeded Sarwar in Glasgow Central in 2015, and while he worked the room she stood sampling the ballot papers with her team.

Flora Scarabello, the Tory candidate suspended over alleged “anti-Muslim language” in social media posts, cut a far lonelier figure, remaining isolated from the blue-clad Conservative group as indications of the scale of that party’s success flashed up on a giant screen.

Via that broadcast and party networks, news from all over the country was coming into the room, which is how Labour members discovered Jeremy Corbyn was to step down. “It’s done, it’s done,” one whispered to another as the bruising night went on.

READ MORE: Jeremy Corbyn hints he will stand down as Labour leader early next year

At around 3am one LibDem activist could be heard swearing into his phone and when Jo Swinson appeared on the news screen, members of all parties swarmed towards it to find out if the rumours were true, and she’d really lost her East Dunbartonshire seat.

Confirmation of Amy Callaghan’s victory drew the largest and loudest cheer of the night.

The National: The SNP's Amy Callaghan took East Dunbartonshire from LibDem leader Jo SwinsonThe SNP's Amy Callaghan took East Dunbartonshire from LibDem leader Jo Swinson

A LibDem woman, who did not want to be named, said the party’s message on Brexit had failed. “We have fantastic policies to look after everybody,” she said, “but they didn’t see that.

“People have focused on ‘how do we stop Brexit and how do we get Boris out?’ In Scotland, they see the SNP as the way to do that. They didn’t see us as the ones to stop what’s happing, which is tragic.”

Describing the contest as “vicious”, she said: “It’s heartbreaking what’s happening to this country. I felt sick when I walked in. Thomas Kerr, leader of the council’s Tory bloc, failed to win his seat, but said the UK result was good news for Glaswegians, a sentiment Cass MacGregor, Scottish Greens candidate for Glasgow North, did not share. “I’ve been trying to feel confident since John Curtice predicted a 70% Tory majority,” she said. “For people in Glasgow, for homeless people on our streets, I feel pretty gutted.”

Anne McLaughlin, who defeated Sweeney to win back Glasgow North East for the SNP, said she wouldn’t celebrate her win because it meant others were out of a job. But she said there are strong reasons for the city’s SNP surge: “Since Brexit descended into chaos, nobody was showing leadership. But Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP team in Westminster have been showing consistent, strong leadership and people have responded to that.

“When you feel like you’re drowning, you grasp onto something stable. They grabbed on to the most stable thing around.”