IT'S been a strange and subdued election campaign due to coronavirus with the political battles mostly fought in newspapers and on TV and social media. There have been no public hustings, no rallies. There have been no canvassers on the doorstep, which at least meant we could enjoy our dinner in peace without being interrupted by some shiny-faced obsessive, although it has drained the campaigns of some of their energy.

And the annoucements of the results will be affected by the pandemic, too. Although voting will go ahead as normal next Thursday, Covid social distancing restrictions mean the counting of ballots will be delayed. In normal circumstances, the count would start almost immediately once the polls have closed, but this time they won’t start until the next day and will run across Friday and Saturday.

Normally, at The Herald, we work until 4am or 5am on election night, putting the most up to date results in our later editions. It's a long and draining day for everyone: our reporters and photographers at the count, and our production and online desks in the office. Sometimes tempers do get frayed but the Editor always stands his hand for a delivery of pizzas, which soothes fevered brows somewhat.

This year will be different. For a start, we wouldn't be in an office. All staff, with the exception of our hard-working printers at Cambuslang, have been working from home wherever possible for the last year and a bit.

Of course our reporters, political specialists and photographers will be out and about capturing events as they unfold but the production of the paper and website will be done in living rooms and dining rooms across the country. We will miss the shared experience of watching momentous events unfold. The elections that brought Tony Blair to power in 1997 and the SNP landslide of 2015, which saw them win 56 out of 59 Scottish seats, will long live in the minds of those who witnessed them.

We expect to receive a third of the results on Friday, with the rest, particularly the more rural and Highland constituencies, declaring on Saturday. Our website has a very useful searchable map which will tell you when your seat is expected to declare.

Many of the seats due to be counted on the Saturday are marginals which could prove crucial to the final balance of parties in the parliament. They include Tory-held Dumfriesshire, Aberdeenshire West, and Galloway & West Dumfries, where the SNP are challenging, and SNP-held Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, which is the top target seat for the Liberal Democrats.

One thing that will be the same this year is that The Herald will remain the place to go for comprehensive results and analysis from our unrivalled political team. Our Saturday and Sunday issues will be packed with expert analysis and results while will be first with breaking news. We won't just tell you who won which seat, we'll explain what that means for Scotland's political future.

No one knows what the big story of the election will be yet and, while it's been a flat campaign, the results will affect the future of Scotland for a very long time.

Now, where did we put that polling card?