Humza Yousaf may have had his hand forced in shuffling his frontbench team – but the new responsibilities for the rising star in his cabinet, Mairi McAllan, will focus attention and get Scotland’s flailing net zero strategy back on track.

Ms McAllan has had her responsibility for Scotland’s transport network snatched away from her in the reshuffle – a necessity after Michael Matheson, a former net zero secretary himself, finally quit his job as health secretary.

But Ms McAllan has been handed responsibility for Scotland’s energy strategy and crucially, the economy, alongside her already-challenging brief for net zero.

That’s not to suggest that Ms McAllan is in any way out of her depth, but Scotland’s net zero blueprint needs focus.

Scotland has missed eight of its last 12 annual emissions targets, is off-track in meeting its legal 2030 target to cut 1990 levels of emissions by 75% and has delayed its vital climate change plan, promised to be published by November last year.

Read more: Analysis: Scotland is failing to back up climate pledges with progress

The Scottish Government has been forced to bin its troubled deposit return scheme in favour of a delayed UK-wide and less ambitious policy, row back on plans to roll out highly protected marine areas to safeguard marine wildlife after a backlash from fishermen and has delayed its energy strategy that will set out its position on the dwindling North Sea oil and gas sector.

It is clear some co-ordination between the Scottish Government’s net zero and energy strategy is overdue. It was a bizarre choice to initially split the briefs when Mr Yousaf became First Minister.

The key part of Ms McAllan’s new role has been a vital missing piece of Scotland’s net zero strategy – ensuring the economy makes the most of the overhaul needed to tackle the climate crisis.

The Scottish Government has been heavily criticised in the past for failing to make the most of the country’s renewables – the number of those sacred green jobs we have heard so much about has fallen flat.

Read more: Scotland's £25bn green hydrogen strategy to power German industry

To be plain, Scotland’s most ambitious economic strategies that we will see emerge in the next 10 years will have net zero and climate change at their heart.

The Scottish Government is oozing with confidence, almost flirting with being cocky, about becoming a global leader in green hydrogen production.

Ministers believe Scotland is well-placed to be a hub for the low-carbon fuel, particularly for Germany’s heavy industry – with an incredible £25 billion potential jackpot being boasted about.

Big and probably over-ambitious plans to set up and scale up carbon capture and storage technology in the north east are at risk of doing too little too late to help Scotland tackle the climate crisis, but the strategy will continue to receive huge attention and investment in the coming years.

Patrick Harvie’s unenvious responsibility to decarbonise how we heat our homes, if done right, could be a huge economic opportunity for Scotland and every other country taking the heat transition seriously.

Read more: Neil Gray becomes Health Secretary in Scottish Government reshuffle

There is plenty of money to be made in heat pumps, home insulation and heat networks but huge question marks remain over where that investment will come from with just £1.8 billion of the estimated £33 billion price tag coming from the Scottish Government.

That other brief Ms McAllan has been lumped with, energy, is also a huge economic opportunity for Scotland.

We know the oil and gas sector’s days are numbered and we know Scotland’s wind power is going to play a crucial role in the economy in the coming years if the Scottish Government gets it right.

But there will be plenty of other opportunities to turn our energy resources into an economic boom – tidal and wave power will potentially be next in line.

So despite adding to Ms McAllan’s already hefty responsibilities as leading Scotland’s charge to net zero, handing her responsibility for the economy and energy is a no-brainer.

And there is unlikely to be anyone in Mr Yousaf’s cabinet who will be able to do a better job than Ms McAllan. The Clydesdale MSP has been fast-tracked from a newly-elected MSP in 2021 to a cabinet secretary when Mr Yousaf secured the keys to Bute House last year – and for good reason. She knows her stuff.

The 30-year-old entered the spotlight as a special adviser to then-first minister Nicola Sturgeon on climate change policy, and like Mr Yousaf’s predecessor, has a legal background, specialising in energy and natural resources, that shines through anytime she is put under pressure.

Ms McAllan was an environment minister under Ms Sturgeon’s administration from the day she entered Holyrood until being promoted to a cabinet secretary.

Her cabinet colleagues could learn a thing or two about being calm and collected from her.

It is clear Scotland needs to up its game in tackling the climate crisis, despite the limitations put on the plans by the UK Government and the apparent lack of ambition by the incoming Labour administration at Westminster.

But placing the economy at the centre of the Scottish Government’s blueprint to end the country’s contribution to the climate crisis is not only a good thing, it is essential.