Mr Darling was applauded on his arrival, while the personal popularity of Ms Goldie was utilised in interviewing ordinary backers.
But Mr Kennedy was expected to add stardust so it was a surprise when he did not appear, apparently due to family illness. "Charles Kennedy hoped to come but he was unable to do so," offered Mr Darling. "With two-and-a-half years to go I am sure he will play his part."
Scots LibDem leader Willie Rennie deputised.