AFTER a long dry spell, Holyrood sprang back into life at FMQs, irrigated by the glistening juices of a vintage stomping. 

Nicola Sturgeon turned Douglas Ross into man-mince.

It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t edifying, it wasn’t even particularly witty. 

But to aficionados of gratuitous cruelty it was a moment to be richly savoured. 

Mr Ross entered the chamber as the leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party; he left as the diddy with the riddy.

His plan had been to grill the FM about a report in the Times suggesting her dream of an independent Scotland rejoining the EU would require swearing fealty to the euro.

After she flourishred quotes to the contrary, Mr Ross huffed it was “desperate stuff” and said she wanted to quit the UK amid a cost of living crisis and “global inflation”.

His first slip. Ms Sturgeon reared up. Oh, global inflation, is it? Wasn’t it linked to the “economic and financial incompetence of the Conservative government”? 

As for his euro stuff, that was “utterly pathetic”, she said.

Mr Ross then threw every slur known to Unionists at Ms Sturgeon’s “flimsy plan” for Indy.

“She would abandon the pound. She has no plan to pay for pensions and no security for people’s mortgages.”

His second big slip. Mortgage costs? You really want to go there after the mini-budget?

The SNP benches erupted. John Swinney doubled up with laughter cramps. “You’ve lost it,” mouthed Humza Yousaf.

Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone frantically yanked some collars. “I am not allowing this behaviour to continue. All voices should be heard in this chamber.”

Alas for Mr Ross, the loudest voice was Ms Sturgeon’s. 

“He calls for security for mortgage payers - from the party that has sent mortgage rates soaring through the roof,” she sneered. 

“Let me just reflect on the past few weeks in the life of Douglas Ross, the leader - for now - of the Scottish Conservative Party. 

“He called on Boris Johnson to resign, then he U-turned. He called on Boris Johnson to resign again, then he U-turned again. He demanded that I follow the mini-budget, then he applauded Liz Truss for scrapping the mini-budget. 

“Just the week before last, he said that Liz Truss would win the next general election, and days later he welcomed the resignation of Liz Truss. Today, he backs Rishi Sunak; who knows what Douglas Ross’s position will be this time next week.”

The Nats floated up onto their tippy toes in rapture.

Mr Ross, his cheeks as red as his poppy, ducked his head and ferociously attacked some paperwork.

Scottish Labour’s Anas Sawar then showed how to do it, silencing SNP MSPs with laser-sharp questions on the NHS.

It was so quiet you could hear Mr Ross’s face throb.

His unhappy benches had never seen a throbber like him.