IT'S not every golfer who picks up an albatross at the Ryder Cup, but Alex Salmond bagged a beauty in Chicago in 2012.

For it was there, as we were reminded at FMQs, that the First Minister splashed £50,000 of the taxpayers' finest on ... well, we don't know.

Despite badgering by the press, he has yet to explain how he spent it, leading to lots of headlines about fancy tastes and luxury hotels. It's an albatross Labour's Johann Lamont wants hung permanently round the boss's jowels.

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"Could he account for the cash?" she asked.

Affronted by any hint of sybaritic tendencies, the FM plumped for the "Sad Cherub", the pained pout he uses to denote offended innocence.

"Oh, can't we just agree to celebrate the Ryder Cup?" he implored her, discreetly flicking a peacock leg under the chaise longue.

Ms Lamont, however, was determined to cite her Highland thriftiness against the Bacchus of Bute House: "As my mother used to say, 'Every penny should be a prisoner'."

Shouldn't the FM be just as canny, instead of cluttering up hotels "frequented by Beyonce, Brad Pitt and Justin Bieber"?

The Sad Cherub having failed, the FM tried jobs.

Didn't Ms Lamont realise that kipping at the Chicago Peninsula helped him meet business leaders and bring investment to Scotland?

"I only stayed in America's finest spa hotel for the sake of the workers. It was the workers I was thinking of in the gourmet restaurant, on the roof terrace, in the hot-tub, the workers!"

Or words to that effect.

Ms Lamont raged on: "The people of Scotland will be disgusted at how the First Minister treats himself at their expense."

Jobs having failed, the FM tried the jugular. "The reason this government is in office is that we focus on the things that matter - that's jobs and growth, not this ridiculous frippery."

That last phrase, delivered with a contemptuous sweep of the arm, sent SNP backbenchers berserk.

But although silent, Labour were even happier.

The FM had just dismissed a sum twice the average wage as a "ridiculous frippery".

That makes a double albatross.