The SNP’s defeated candidate in Falkirk has partly blamed John Swinney’s support for Michael Matheson for his election defeat.

In a lengthy Facebook post, Toni Giugliano said the ex-health minister should not have been protected by the leadership.

The constituency was won by Labour's Euan Stainbank after a 20.5% swing away from the SNP took 13,347. 

READ MORE: Swinney: We have failed to convince Scots on independence

The party had an atrocious night, dropping from 48 MP to just nine with one seat left to declare. Meanwhile, Labour won 37. 

The First Minister stunned MSPs in May when he said he would not back calls for Mr Matheson to be banned from Holyrood. 

He claimed a Standards Committee's probe into the £11k iPad expenses scandal of his “friend and colleague” had been "prejudiced." 

Mr Swinney said comments by a Tory member meant that Mr Matheson did not get a fair hearing. 

The committee recommended the Falkirk MSP be suspended for 27 days and for his salary to be withdrawn for 54 days, a financial penalty roughly equivalent to the size of the ex-health secretary's data roaming bill.  

The SNP pushed through an amendment to the motion which attacked the process used to sanction Mr Matheson.

However, the party’s 63 MSPs then abstained on the final vote on the amended motion.  It was carried by 64 to zero after all four opposition parties supported it.

In a speech on Friday morning, Mr Swinney said his party “needs to be healed and it needs to heal its relationship with the people of Scotland.”

READ MORE: Opinion: Deep down, this result is good news for the SNP

Mr Giugliano agreed. 

In his Facebook post, he wrote: “The SNP must take time to reflect on the scale of defeat across Scotland and rebuild trust with voters.

"I don’t believe this result is a reflection on support for independence - voters have sent the SNP a very clear message to get its house in order.

“I agree with John Swinney that we must heal our relationship with voters - and Falkirk is the place to start. An MSP found to have breached rules on parliamentary expenses must never again be protected - quite the opposite, they must be removed from office.”

He also questioned the local SNP run council’s decision to cut school hours and close community centres. He said this had “severely damaged our campaign.” 

“It’s extraordinary that the local SNP administration failed to support my campaign and instead publicly attacked me days before the election for siding with parents. 

“They should consider their position.   

“My team in Falkirk is the most hardworking and committed team I’ve ever campaigned with - several of them are ready to step up as new candidates in future elections and they have my full support. I‘ve built deep bonds with grassroots members of Falkirk SNP, I thank them for choosing me as their candidate and supporting me over these past 10 months.”

The SNP has been approached for comment.