The backdrop to UK Labour's conference in Liverpool was very much the party's victory in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election last Thursday.

Michael Shanks, the new MP for the constituency, had a star turn on the main stage on Monday, introducing his boss Anas Sarwar who gave his "report" on Scotland to the party faithful. Mr Sarwar was cheered as he told the audience that Scottish Labour can beat the SNP in seats “across Scotland”.

"No SNP MP can sit safely, taking their communities for granted as so many have," he declared.

The focus was picked up by Sir Keir Starmer in his keynote address the following day when he vowed to put Scotland at the “heart of a Britain to last” and said by-election showed that Scotland “can lead the way to a Labour government”.

He also mocked the SNP for trying to “present nationalism as a bridge to the world” when it can “barely provide a ferry out of the Hebrides”.

The Labour leader also confirmed that should Labour gain power it would establish a publicly owned clean energy company with its headquarters north of the border that would be expected to create thousands of jobs.

“Although Great British Energy will be a shared mission, Scotland has the skills, Scotland has the ingenuity, and Scotland is at the heart of a Britain built to last. That’s what the people of Rutherglen voted for,” he said.

And he also warned against complacency implicitly suggesting if Scots didn't like events south of the Border a demand for independence would strengthen.

“But be under no illusions we must earn every vote, and we must understand that the Scottish people are not just looking at us; they’re also looking at Britain,” he said.

But besides Mr Sarwar's speech, an address by shadow Scottish Secretary Ian Murray and a couple of fringe meetings including one on constitutional reform, Scotland did not feature heavily on the conference's agenda.

There was no explicit mention of what, if any extra powers could come to Holyrood under a Labour government - if the party does put forward such proposals perhaps the leaders want to wait until closer to the general election.

Sir Keir's speech while clearly enthusing members with its focus on removing the Conservative government from power and with a promise to  “walk towards a decade of national renewal” and “face down the age of insecurity” was not exactly full of policies he would implement to see these changes come about.

And the plans he did outline were ones that would be introduced only south of the border. He raised the prospect of reforming the NHS in England saying if his government didn't bring in new changes the health service would "remain on life support".

One of the biggest announcements was a plan to "bulldoze through" the "restrictive planning system" and build £1.5 million new homes. But such a policy again would only come into effect south of the Border where "the next generation of Labour new towns" would be built.

And when he discussed a new generation of technical colleges to provide training for future workers this policy too had a England only focus.

He talked of "training lab workers in Derbyshire", "automotive engineers in Wolverhampton", "computer scientists in Manchester", "nuclear scientists in Somerset", "builders in Staffordshire" and "toolmakers in Hull".

Perhaps this is an aspect of devolution which does present a challenge for UK party leaders. If they do suggest policies relating to health, education or housebuilding - as all the above listed do - they risk the accusation that they are stepping into the remit of devolved areas. However, by not talking about issues that are devolved to Scotland they then give the impression - and accusation - that they are ignoring Scotland or not interested.

Maybe a way around this challenge is to mention how some similar ambitions would take shape under a Holyrood Labour government. Admittedly it sounds like a footnote, but perhaps a better option than just leaving out the country.

But while Scotland was absent from some of the policy conversation it was very much present in the Labour's goal to achieve power.

There was no doubt that the conference was all about putting Labour on an election footing and in that regard events in Scotland, with the SNP hit by troubles and Mr Shanks' by-election win last Thursday, has helped energise the party leadership and activists ahead of what will be a busy and important 12 months of campaigning.