Alex Salmond has revealed a "major mistake" that he made during the lead up to the 2014 Scottish independence referendum while he was first minister of Scotland.

The former first minister said that putting the SNP in charge of the independence campaign was a mistake that he has now learned from.

He admitted his error while speaking exclusively in The Herald's brand new political podcast fronted by former BBC Scotland political editor Brian Taylor.

“I was a member of SNP for 40 years and more. I was leader of the SNP for 20 years. Therefore it was quite natural for me, given that the SNP had done all of the heavy-lifting politically in the cause of independence, to associate independence, almost totally with the SNP," he said in today's episode of The Brian Taylor Podcast.

"I mean, I love the SNP. Always will, and for natural and proper reasons. But of course, what I learned between 2012 and 2014, that was a major mistake."

“Under my leadership, the SNP won a sensational, earth-shattering, system-breaking victory in the 2011 Scottish elections... but the dial on support for independence didn't shift.

“We won that majority but the dial on Independence was stuck around 30% of the vote.

“That dial did not shift until the high summer of 2014."

His comments came in the third episode of the new podcast, in which Brian Taylor is grilling each of the party leaders in the lead up to next week's Holyrood election.

He continued: “When realising we were facing a heavy defeat in the referendum, I took the quite deliberate decision to embrace what was happening on the ground - a much wider yes movement than simply one controlled by the Scottish National Party.

“It was that multifarious grassroots variety of opinion, upsurge of interest and independence that in my estimation, carried the independence vote forward from 30% to perhaps touching 50% within days of the poll, and then back to settle at 45%.

“And the lesson I would take from that is that the independence movement is strengthened when it is carried forward by a variety of opinions as opposed to be confined in the ranks of one political party.”