The consensus amongst Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson’s political allies and opponents is that she had a good referendum.

Two years ago, the Glasgow MSP was a political novice who attracted unflattering reviews for her performances at First Minister’s Questions and lack of progress as leader.

However, the referendum helped boost her image and put her in the big league.

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She was impressive on TV, rallied the Tory vote across the country and is nearly in the category of politician who is known by her Christian name.

Sitting in a drab office in Holyrood - hours after she issued a coded dig at the Prime Minister for his lacklustre response to the refugee crisis – she reflects on the referendum one year on.

“I expected Scotland to come back together afterwards, and I was working towards that," she says. "The echoes from a year ago are much louder than I thought that they would be - they are still dominating the political landscape right now.”

In the end, No secured a comfortable 10 point victory, but it never felt that easy for Better Together during a roller-coaster campaign.

Before the vote, a poll put the Yes side in the lead and sparked panic in the No camp. Did she ever feel like she was going to be on the losing side?

“No, because that poll was a poll of about a thousand and odd people,” she says. “Better Together was canvassing 80,000 people a week. We had to trust our numbers. Don’t let me say I wasn’t scared or that I wasn’t nervous, but I knew that we had to trust our own numbers.”

She believes Yes would have polled better if former First Minister Alex Salmond had been more realistic on difficult issues: “I couldn’t understand why he didn’t take the line of ‘this might be something that does have issues that need resolved in the short term, but we are an inventive nation and I back us to make the right choices’....I just think less belligerence would have won him more votes.”

The No victory was helped by the solidity of the Tory vote. While Labour supporters were divided, it is been suggested that over 90% of Conservatives backed the UK.

Davidson observed the same fracturing inside the Better Together, where Labour backbiting was more tangible than cross-party sniping.

“Most of the tensions were internal with the Labour party, if I am perfectly honest with you,” she laughs.

“I had never seen behind the curtain of the Scottish Labour Party before. I didn’t understand or appreciate some of the tensions that existed.”

She also says there was a gulf between the much-fabled Scottish Labour machine and the reality on the ground.

“One thing we found out that was interesting [was] we were told at the start by the Labour party that ‘we will take all the Tory money but it will be Labour people that do everything, thanks very much’.

“It became really apparent during the course of that campaign that Labour just didn’t have the people, they didn’t have the boots on the ground, and that actually we had to step up. I was amazed that the Labour Party machine in Scotland was as broken as it was, was as barren as it was.”

The Sunday Herald last year revealed that the then Scottish Tory chairman Richard Keen had made scathing remarks about Better Together leader Alistair Darling.

Keen, dubbed the Rottweiler of the legal world, criticised Darling in front of Conservative MSPs at a meet-and-greet event in his townhouse.

However, Davidson rushes to the former Labour chancellor’s defence.

“I think Alistair took a massive step forward when there were an awful lot of people that took a step back,” she says. “I will not criticise Alistair in any way. I think that he took the weight of that organisation on his shoulders. I think that he went into that knowing his own skills and his own limitations.”

Although Labour was on the winning side, the party lost 39 of its 40 seats at the general election and is in freefall.

Does she agree that joining forces with the Tories in Better Together killed Labour?

“I don’t and I actually don’t believe that this is the end of the Labour Party in Scotland,” she says.

“They are going to fall further before they rebound, but I think they will rebound and find a sense of purpose for a left of centre party in the 21st century. It’s clear that none of their leaders, at a Scottish or UK level, knows how to articulate that yet.”

Everyone has a view on the legacy – political and societal – of last year’s campaign. I ask if she believes Scotland is a better place than it was two years ago.

“I think Scotland is a different place,” she replies. “I think it made us more politically aware, and that is a good thing. I think that it made more people become more politically engaged, and that is a good thing."

I sense a ‘but’ is looming.

“I think there are some things that aren’t as nice. We are in a post-referendum stage where, at the moment, you still are waiting to hear what somebody’s position was on the constitution before you listen to anything else that they say, and I don’t think that’s particularly healthy in the political sphere,” she says.

Perhaps Davidson should look closer to home for one of the causes of post-referendum tension.

On the morning after the result, the Prime Minister made a speech in which he explicitly linked the new powers coming to Scotland with English Votes for English Laws (Evel).

His remarks enraged Labour and the Liberal Democrats who believed Cameron had given Salmond a fresh wind at his lowest point.

Asked if she understood why the speech annoyed her Better Together allies, she offers a factual response that stops short of a defence of the Prime Minister.

“This [Evel] is something that we in the Conservative Party have always recognised. That since Tam Dalyell 40 years ago said that there was an issue about the West Lothian Question and the imbalance across the UK, it was something that needed solutions.”

Sure, but people were angered by the timing of the comments.

“People have opinions about that, but it’s not anything that hadn’t already been said all the way through the campaign. This wasn’t a new thing.”

Asked if she had misgivings about the speech, Davidson again neither supports nor criticises Cameron: “It wasn’t anything that hadn’t already been said.”

More broadly, Davidson said she has “thousands” of regrets about the referendum and says the negative tone of Better Together did not always please her.

“A lot of that was negative messaging, and I was never hugely comfortable with that. I always tried, in my own contributions, to be much more about talking up parts of the UK.”

I then read her back comments she made on the BBC on the night of the referendum.

"Different local authorities have had openings around the country. It is illegal to discuss that while any ballot is ongoing, so until 10 o'clock tonight no-one could talk about it.

"But there are people in the room that have been sampling those ballot boxes as they have been opened and they have been taking tallies and the reports have been very positive for us."

Davidson’s comments were followed by complaints to the police, as postal ballots must be kept face down during the verification process.

She was also questioned by police as a witness.

Asked if her remarks were a source of regret, she gives her least polished answer of the day.

“Well, I mean, I wasn’t in any rooms where that was happening. There are people who are mandated to do that. I was never registered with any of the local authorities to be there. I know that other politicians who were...

“To be honest, by that point, I think that was about half past ten at night, and I had been up for two [or] three straight days and two nights. I probably don’t know what I was saying at that point.”

Do you wish you had not said it? “I’ve no idea.”

A staffer pipes up: “Sorry to interrupt, the guys from the next meeting are here.”

I push ahead. Who told her the tallies had been positive? “Away,” she says, dismissively.

I put it to her that her recollection has been fine so far.

“My recollection so far, actually, I don’t know....Honestly, the last six weeks of that campaign. I couldn’t tell you what day was what.”

So who was it? “I’ve no recollection,” she says, after fixing me a death stare.

Moving on, she says success at the next Holyrood election would be returning the highest number of Tory MSPs since devolution.

“Eighteen is the most we have ever done and I want more than that.”

I point out that some of her bold targets for the general election – such as increasing the number of Scots Tory MPs – failed to be met.

She reels off – according to her best recollection - what she says were May’s “measures of success”.

“The numbers of people that vote for you, the vote share, the position you are between the numbers of, you know, whether you come first, second or third amongst all the parties. And, yes, the numbers of MPs. I wanted them all to go up.”

But your vote share went down. “I didn’t manage all of them,” she says.

Put to her that it was her party’s lowest vote share since 1965, she makes a noise that can only be described as affirmative.

Davidson put in a major shift to help save the Union, but her party is still on the periphery when it comes to Scottish elections.

Voters, it seems, find it easy making a judgement about her party without any problems of recollection.