Among the SNP’s ex-MPs and defeated candidates, there was sadness and anger.

In a letter to local members, seen by The Herald, Alyn Smith, urged his activists to “reflect on our loss, not sink into bitterness.”

However, the SNP’s Europe spokesman - who lost to Labour’s Chris Kane by 1,394 votes - laid the blame for his defeat at party HQ.

“Locally I think we fought a good campaign, but for about two years now I have been of the view that our national organisation, Holyrood and Westminster groups needed a moorburn to allow us to refocus and get back on track.

“I hoped in adopting a local-local-local-Europe strategy that I would still be standing after the wave hit, but it slipped away in the last few days.”

Moorburn, or muirburn is the practice of burning off old growth on a heather moor to encourage new growth.

READ MORE: Defeated Falkirk SNP candidate blames Swinney for election loss

Speaking early on Friday morning, Stewart McDonald criticised his party’s policy on the constitution.

“We've been saying a multitude of different things on how to achieve independence, the why of independence.

“It's about time we stopped, paused, understood exactly where we are with this argument, where the people of Scotland are with this argument so that we can build the positive case that we need to build and actually start to move the dial on independence.

"It hasn't gone away. It very, very clearly hasn't gone away as a major issue in Scottish politics, but it's had a setback.”

(Image: Colin Mearns/H&T)

Meanwhile, in Falkirk, the defeated candidate blamed John Swinney’s handling of the Michael Matheson affair.

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

Toni Giugliano agreed: “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.”

READ MORE: Inverness result delayed until Saturday over 'vote discrepancy'

Scottish Labour had a great night, but it could have been better.

“Our colleagues in Dundee will think we perhaps should have spent a bit more time there,” Anas Sarwar told The Herald on Friday morning.

Notionally, the two new seats should have been safe for the SNP.

But Chris Law went from having one of the country’s biggest majorities to one of its smallest.

Just 675 votes separated him and Richard McCready.

READ MORE: After the tears, what now for the SNP and independence?

In the new seat of Broughty Ferry and Arbroath, the SNP’s Stephen Gethins took 15,581 votes ahead of Labour's Cheryl-Ann Cruickshank, who polled 14,722, a difference of 859 votes.

Could some more campaigning, a visit from Sir Keir Starmer have made a difference?

In Aberdeen South too, the party was on the cusp of a McPortillo moment, with Stephen Flynn run far closer than expected.

A 16 point swing to M. Tauqeer Malik saw the the SNP's Westminster leader majority reduced to 3,758.

The seat was not a target for party HQ and local sources say bosses underestimated Mr Malik's popularity and ground operation.

“A little help and maybe we could have got over the line,” they said.

READ MORE: Sarwar 'redoubles' effort to be First Minister as SNP trounced

Mr Sarwar said the party in Scotland had “the largest share increase in terms of the vote.”

Scotland-wide, Labour’s share of the vote jumped by 17 percentage points, to 35.7%, more than the 34.5% the party won in England.

“And to go from one MP and coming fourth in the election, one of our worst results since 1910 to be not just the winners in Scotland, not just the largest party in Scotland, but a majority in Scotland, I think is incredible.

“So in terms of regrets none, but still lots of work to do because only one state of change has been completed.

“I've always said that I want, yes to get rid of the Tories, yes, I want a UK Labour government, yes I believe that UK Labour Government is really important to deliver for Scotland, but for me I've always said it's our stepping stone for change in 2026.”

(Image: Jeff Mitchell/Getty)

Given the turmoil inflicted on the party south of the border, the Scottish Tories were delighted to hold on to five of their six MPs, including Harriet Cross, who gained Gordon and Buchan from the SNP with a majority of 878 votes.

They managed to win five seats despite their vote effectively being cut in half - down 12.3 percentage points to 12.9% - in just four and a half years.

The only seat lost was Aberdeenshire North and Moray East, where outgoing party boss Douglas Ross was the candidate.

The SNP’s Seamus Logan won by a margin of 942.

Mr Ross's selection as the Scottish Tory candidate for the seat was controversial.

The Party’s Management Board stopped former Scottish Office minister David Duguid from contesting the new seat as they claimed he was too ill - a claim the former MP disputed.

Mr Ross then announced his intention to “lead from the front” and stand instead, despite previously promising not to stand for Westminster and concentrate on Holyrood.

The outcry led to him announcing his resignation as Scottish Tory leader.

The Tory chief would have made it over the line had it not been for Reform candidate Jo Hart, who came third with 5,562 votes.

(Image: PA)

A Scottish Conservative source said: “This was an extremely tough night across the UK for the party with many tough losses.

“However, Scottish Conservative candidates - ultimately now MPs- outperformed the UK trend and managed to defeat SNP candidates in key seats from the North East to the South of Scotland.

“We have increased our majorities in Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine and Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale while electing two fantastic new MPs in John Cooper and Harriet Cross.

“Obviously the result in Douglas' constituency was disappointing and was ultimately down to the strong performance of Reform in the seat, which we had repeatedly warned about. In the circumstances, with the UK picture, we have achieved a respectable result in Scotland.”

The Lib Dems had a very good night. And could be about to have an even better Saturday morning.

The boundary changes notionally left them with just two seats, though they expected to do okay and possibly hold on to their four MPs.

However, they managed to claw back Mid-Dunbartonshire, which had previously been the East Dunbartonshire constituency of party leader Jo Swinson.

A recount in Inverness, Skye and Wester-Ross this morning, could see them add to their tally.

It is a close fight between the Lib Dems and the SNP, but privately some SNP figures have conceded defeat.

The constituency is symbolic to the party.

A Lib Dem source said: “This has been a fantastic night so far and bringing home Charles Kennedy’s former seat would be the cherry on top.

“If it falls to us in the recount, it’ll be a personal victory for Alex Cole-Hamilton too. With a week to go it looked as if the seat was out of reach but he wouldn’t give up, got on a train, hit the phones and spoke to everyone who would listen with a positive message about what we could offer people in the Highlands."