Patrick Harvie, the party’s co-convener, representing Glasgow, and Alison Johnstone, representing Lothians, were the party’s only success stories.

Mr Harvie admitted his disappointment at the result, saying: "I did hope for a bigger group in the Scottish Parliament in the new session.”

The Greens had been expected in some quarters to better the LibDems in the results, consistently scoring around 5% in the pre-election polls. One ‘super-poll’ predicted the Greens would achieve their ambition of one MSP from each region, pushing the LibDems into fifth place.

But even after a disastrous day for Tavish Scott’s party, the LibDems still took more seats than the Greens, who were the only party to advocate using devolved powers to raise income tax, in an attempt to cover the centre-left ground.

The Greens had also reverted to the 2nd Vote Green campaign that saw them hit their peak in the 2003 elections, at which they won seven seats, before sliding back down to two seats in 2007; a result they have not managed to better this time.

It was a disappointing day all round for the left of centre parties, with George Galloway’s Respect party achieving only 3.3% in Glasgow, and a string of dismal results all under the 1% mark for the SSP in the six regions they contested. Solidarity returned similarly bleak figures in the four regions in which they stood.