A claim by Britain's former counter-terrorism chief that Alex Salmond threw "hissy fits" following the attempted suicide bombing at Glasgow Airport was dismissed as "absolute nonsense" by the Scottish Government last night.

A spokesman for the First Minister told The Herald that the relationship between the UK and Scottish Governments in the wake of the botched terror attack had been good - "fully co-ordinated and fully consensual".

He added that the claim by Andy Hayman, the former Assistant Commissioner of Special Operations at the Metropolitan Police, made in his since-banned book, The Terrorist Hunters, was "absolute nonsense and pitifully so".

The spokesman was responding to Labour calls for Mr Salmond to explain himself.

Jim Sheridan, chairman of the Scottish Labour MPs' group, in whose constituency Glasgow Airport lies, said Mr Hayman's allegations showed up the First Minister's arrogance.

"I am today calling for Alex Salmond to clarify his actions.

"If he put his obsession with appearing on television ahead of a terrorist investigation, then that is unforgivable."

The MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North added: "It is just so hugely arrogant to act like this.

"When dealing with terrorism, politicians need to work together, not try and get one up on each other."

Iain Gray, the Labour leader at Holyrood, branded the FM's alleged actions as "shameful", saying he had behaved in "a disgraceful manner" by seeking to exploit an incident on the scale of the Glasgow Airport attack for his own personal gain.

"It begs the question: is Alex Salmond fit for office? While Strathclyde police behaved in an exemplary manner, Alex Salmond let Scotland down," he added.

In his book, Mr Hayman claimed a "disproportionate amount of time" had to be spent convincing Mr Salmond and Elish Angiolini, the Lord Advocate, that the case should be handled and the suspects tried in London and not in Scotland.

He wrote: "At times, some politicians can't help themselves.

"The lure of getting in the spotlight or having hissy fits over who is the most important simply gets in the way. And frankly, it's despicable."

Mr Hayman's book was withdrawn by Baroness Scotland, the Attorney General, for legal reasons ahead of publication but only after advance copies were released and part of it was serialised in a newspaper.

However, doubts were cast on his account of relations with the Scottish Government by John Neilson, the Assistant Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police who was the officer in charge of the operational response to the attacks.

He said: "I don't know of any political interference that impacted on the investigation."

A spokesman for the Crown Office said: "This bears absolutely no resemblance to events in Scotland that weekend."

A Scottish Government spokesman branded the claims "completely untrue" and noted how decisions on prosecution and liaison with prosecuting authorities in the rest of the UK were matters for the Lord Advocate and not Scottish Ministers.