Less than two years after a vote to remain in the UK, it is now "highly likely" that Scotland will face another independence referendum - with legislation already being prepared on the back of the Brexit vote.

Nicola Sturgeon pulled no punches when she delivered her post EU referendum speech, flanked by a European Union flag on one side and a Saltire on the other.

It is "democratically unacceptable" that Scotland should be taken out of the EU against its will, the First Minister declared in an address at Bute House, her official residence in Edinburgh.

Read more: Ministers plan Brussels talks 'to protect Scotland's place in the EU'​

She was speaking hours after Scotland voted overwhelmingly to retain membership by 62% to 38%, with all 32 local authorities returning a majority for Remain.

HeraldScotland:

But it didn't come as a surprise to many watching on.

The SNP manifesto pledge for the 2016 Scottish parliamentary election was clear.

A "significant and a material change" of the circumstances in which Scotland voted against independence in 2014 could trigger a second referendum.

Being taken out of the EU represents that trigger.

So, will Scotland remain part of a United Kingdom for much longer?

Ms Sturgeon stopped shot of guaranteeing a referendum but said the option of a second vote is "on the table" - and it could happen within the next two-and-half years.

The First Minister said: "When the Article 50 process is triggered in three months' time, the UK will be on a two-year path to the EU exit door.

Read more: Article 50 process explained

"If Parliament judges that a second referendum is the best or only way to protect our place in Europe, it must have the option to hold one within that timescale."

She said on Saturday her government will seek to enter into "immediate discussions" with Brussels to "protect Scotland's place in the EU".

HeraldScotland: Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (Photo by BuzzFeed News/Facebook via Getty Images)

A legally-binding second "indyref" would need Westminster's legislative approval and it has been said that no government would realistically give that so soon after the last independence vote.

Ms Sturgeon has said it would be inconceivable for Westminster to ignore a democratic vote by MSPs requesting such authority.

Also, in theory, a consultative referendum could be held without a Westminster rubber stamp.

She's now writing to all the EU member states to set out her case.

The spectre of a second referendum so soon after the September 2014 vote will no doubt be met with dread from some weary members of the electorate and relief by others happy to have the prospect, at least, of reversing an EU withdrawal.

For many among the disappointed 45% who voted Yes to independence, Brexit and a feared political swing to the right provide the breeding ground for a longed-for follow-up vote that might see the scales tip in their favour.

HeraldScotland:

Particularly as the risk to Scotland's EU membership was a central plank of the Better Together campaign led by the Conservatives, Labour and the Lib Dems.

As the Daily Record newspaper puts it in their Saturday edition: "Now the prospect of Scots returning a Yes vote in a second referendum is very much alive".

So would people in Scotland who voted No be tempted to change camps this time around?

Stirling student Stuart Young tweeted: "So I voted no in #indyref, now @NicolaSturgeon please give me the chance to show'em I've changed my mind #indyref2."

Andrew Montgomery from Glasgow said: "I was a #indyref No. I voted with my head not my heart. I could be a Yes now but there needs to be a strong clear logical case #indyref2."

Mhairi, also from Glasgow, tweeted: "I voted no on the original IndyRef but given the chance again I'd vote Yes. I'd rather us be alone in Europe than be alone with the Tories."

HeraldScotland: Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson walks onto the stage to take part in The Great Debate on BBC One

For Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, another referendum is "not in the best interests of the people of Scotland''.

She said: ''The 1.6 million votes cast in this referendum in favour of remain do not wipe away the two million votes that we cast less than two years ago.

''We do not address the challenges of leaving the European Union by leaving our own Union of nations, our biggest market and our closest friends.''

Kezia Dugdale, leader of Scottish Labour, said: "Labour's manifesto ruled out a second referendum in the lifetime of this Parliament - we won't be changing our minds any time soon.

''However, on the question of independence, many of the fundamental questions that were unresolved and unanswered in 2014, remain so. Not least the question of currency."