In the wake of Theresa’s May landslide defeat, Nicola Sturgeon was quick to demand a second referendum - on Europe.

The moment was supposed to have been her springboard for another constitutional vote.

However independence only merited an oblique mention in the final line of her press release.

A People’s Vote is the best way to protect Scottish interests “within the UK”, she said.

Read more: Nicola Sturgeon facing second inquiry over Alex Salmond as feud worsens

It may be less than 10 days since Ms Sturgeon said she hoped to set out her timetable for Indyref2 “very soon”, but that aspiration now seems as improbable as Mrs May’s Brexit deal.

True, it was never likely to come to fruition - the UK government refuses to give Holyrood referendum powers - but the FM could still have pushed for it as part of a grand narrative for the 2021 Holyrood election.

However the past week has shown her the hard truth of the old military adage: no plan survives contact with the enemy.

Few would have expected the enemy to be Alex Salmond, but her predecessor’s court win against Ms Sturgeon’s government, and its venomous aftermath, have knocked her plans for six.

Ms Sturgeon’s decision to keep meeting Mr Salmond after he told her he was being investigated by her officials for alleged sexual misconduct is now under intense scrutiny, and with it her judgment.

A Holyrood inquiry will crawl over her every action and decision in the coming months, teasing out who knew what and when.

Ms Sturgeon’s chief of staff will also be examined to see if she behaved appropriately throughout - and the First Minister is held responsible for her special advisers.

Separately, an independent ethics panel will examine, at Ms Sturgeon’s request, whether she breached the ministerial code.

Even if it all comes to nothing, it will all come to nothing slowly, which is the crucial thing.

Just when Ms Sturgeon most wants to be talking about Brexit and the smoking ruin of Mrs May’s government, she is being assailed by questions about her probity.

With the FM’s office accusing Mr Salmond’s circle of a “vendetta” and a “smear” campaign after briefings to the press, the SNP’s reputation for unity is crumbling.

Professor Sir John Curtice, of Strathclyde University’s politics department, has called it the SNP’s biggest internal crisis for 40 years.

With Brexit stinking up the Scottish Tories, interim leader Jackson Carlaw has a huge incentive to prolong the agony.

His own party is divided - three of its 13 MPs voted against Mrs May’s deal - so he would far rather twist the knife in the SNP’s side.

As for Scottish Labour’s reaction to last night, don’t expect any innovation. They will keep calling for an election as they don’t know how to address a People’s Vote.

Meanwhile, the LibDems will double down on an EU referendum.

So it may be the Greens who keep the Indy flag flying at Holyrood for now. As Patrick Harvie said last night: “It is surely only a matter of time before we finally decide Scotland too must ‘take back control’ from the shambles that is government from Westminster, and set ourselves on a path to full independent membership of the EU.” Words the FM would no doubt have loved to say in happier circumstances.