FINALLY, after months of Covid-induced solemnity, an FMQs that felt like old times: cheers, jeers, and Nicola Sturgeon putting a window in Ruth Davidson.

Or should that be Baroness Davidson of Getmeouttahere, our latest peer-in-waiting? 

That was certainly how the First Minister viewed her, on top of the usual disdain, that is.

The return of Baroness Offski was much anticipated by the Tories, as she is the other half of their dream ticket/last resort with new boss Douglas Ross. 

Ms Davidson, who last did the FMQs gig in June 2019, looked up for the fight, with the SQA debacle hand-made for the occasion.

But as Chris Grayling wannabe John Swinney can tell you from his fetal position, projected grades and final results may vary. 

Quoting back Ms Sturgeon’s outrage during the last outstanding SQA screw-up in 2000, Ms Davidson asked why Mr Swinney hadn’t been sacked. 

“The First Minister’s loyalty to a colleague may be commendable, but her real loyalty should be to the parents and pupils of Scotland,” she said, apparently oblivious to the irony. 

As SNP MSPs laughed at the gaffe, Ms Sturgeon pounced. 

“I'm not sure that loyalty to colleagues is a strong suit for Ruth Davidson,” she smiled, referring to the stiletto perforated corpse of the hapless Jackson Carlaw.

The chamber in uproar, the FM pressed her advantage.

Not that she wanted to talk politics, you understand, but in a few months she would submit herself and her party to the verdict of the people in the election.

“As we do that, Ruth Davidson will be pulling on her ermine and going to the unelected House of Lords.

"I gently suggest to her that, when it comes to scrutinising and holding politicians to account, she really is not coming at that from a position of strength. 

“It’s not me who's running away from democratic accountability.”

Lady Interim checked her watch. Time for the scripted gag.

“For four months we’ve had the First Minister telling the people of Scotland that she does not do party politics. Nine minutes it took her to get there!” she tried to chortle.

“All it has taken nine minutes to do is expose Ruth Davidson’s raw nerve,” Ms Sturgeon shot back.

“I do not criticise anybody for wanting to serve in any Parliament; I just have an old-fashioned preference that they get elected before they do so.”

For an encore, and with a neck of purest brass, the FM even took credit for frightened children taking to the streets over the SQA.

“The objectives of curriculum for excellence are to ensure young people are confident individuals and are engaged, active and responsible citizens 

“In the way that they have conducted themselves, those young people are actually a credit to the Scottish education system,” she mused.

Baroness Itchyfeet seemed to be already pining for the red benches.

After this performance, young master Ross must be wondering what will be left for him to inherit by May.