Scotland’s Health Secretary was bricking it.

Mischievous Michael Matheson sat glumly and statue still next to the First Minister as attention focused on his career-threatening expenses scandal.

Mr Matheson usually espouses about as much charisma as a bog brush. If ever there was a time he wanted to be flushed down the toilet, this was it.

The sheepish SNP maverick rarely looked up from a hole he was trying to stare into the chamber floor. Presumably, he was simply praying the floor would open up and swallow him whole.

Sat right next to the First Minister, the ghoulish Health Secretary was trying and failing to hide in plain sight.

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The First Minister is an old hat at being a human shield for his ministerial dafties , he’s a veteran now.

He told MSPs that the under-fire Health Secretary merely made “an honest mistake”, despite later admitting he’s told a whopper.

Never missing an opportunity, the FM smirked that “to get a lecture on principles and integrity from the party that gave us Boris Johnson is quite something”.

The FM pretty-much signalled the impending end of Mr Matheson’s stint as Health Secretary when he boasted to MSPs that he has “absolute confidence” in him staying on.

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The Conservatives were having none of the responses given by the First Minister, who was refusing to give away any spoilers in his chum’s confessional to MSPs later on.

This was a handy reason for saying nada about the iPad data fiasco – it was all in hand, it will become clearer later.

But it just added to the drama of it all – the suspense was palpable.

It all got a bit too much for some.

First, no-nonsense Tory chairman Craig Hoy lost his rag – screaming “deflection, deflection” at the FM, in the style of a fog horn.

“I ask you, Mr Hoy, to ensure that that is the last remark that I hear from you when you are not on your feet and have not been called to speak” vented Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone, as Mr Hoy immediately closed his yapper.

Ms Johnstone then snapped at Mr Ross, who was becoming incredibly animated, much like a dog desperate to be let off its leash.

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“The First Minister is answering questions”, the PO hissed.

“No, he’s not”, barked Mr Ross, setting a disappointed shake of the head in full motion.

The Tories were not amused and neither were the glum SNP MSPs.

Mr Matheson daren’t move an inch, he could barely look the First Minister in the eye. Much like a teenage boy who had just been caught tallying up £11,000 on his dad’s parliamentary iPad.

The tone shifted immediately when Anas Sarwar had the audacity to bring up serious questions over the health service and the probe facing NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

The rest of FMQs reverted back to the usual mundane exchanges.

The Health Secretary was back in the chamber two hours later, admitting he’s lied about knowing his offspring had used his parliamentary iPad to watch football.

Mr Matheson got visibly upset – it was painful to watch, not unlike the Scottish football screened on the infamous iPad.

He just wanted to protect his children from the “political media scrutiny”, you see – clearly a job well done.

But he’s now thrown them under the bus and had to fess up to lying to protect his loved ones.

He’ll be longing for a day he can go to work and just get grilled about the state of Scotland’s crisis-hit NHS. And those days might be numbered.