AFTER being audibly tepid about their boss last week, SNP MSPs tried to make amends by going absolutely berserk at FMQs. They screamed like a horde of Fergus Ewings.

As Humza Yousaf peeled the soggiest of cliches from his barrel, every Nat clapped as if they had a gun in their face. Statistics induced gasps, quips were drenched in ecstasy.

The message had gone out loud and clear: support your local muppet.

Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone repeatedly intervened. “Members!” she tsk-tsked.

Douglas Ross asked about the National Care Service, un grand projet started under Nicola Sturgeon that’s now more of a runaway white elephant sinking into a money pit.

We all know it’ll cost more than the original £1.3billion, but how much? Mr Ross asked.

Mr Yousaf admitted consultants had trousered £2m for “specialist expertise” (invoicing), but couldn’t give a final price as the plan was being, er, rewritten over the summer.

But whatever emerged would be tip-top as it would have “sectoral bargaining and ethical commissioning”, he  insisted. His backbenches roared like they understood it.

The Tory leader then cruelly quoted the minister in charge, Maree Todd, who said on Tuesday: “I will admit that it has been a little hard for me to get my head around it.”

A few seats away, Ms Todd’s inelastic noggin flashed scarlet.

“What does it say if his own care minister doesn’t understand?” Mr Ross yelped excitedly, flicking his pug tongue. Mr Yousaf was incensed.

“It just goes to show how desperate Douglas Ross is when he starts with personal attacks.

“Those are not attacks on policy or substance, but personal attacks from the man who is, of course, the least popular elected politician on these islands.”

Nothing personal there, then. 

Later, a star-struck Anas Sarwar kept banging on about what Keir Starmer would do. 

“What is better for Scotland: a Labour Government or a Tory Government?” he asked dreamily, too far gone to spot what was coming.

“What is best for Scotland is independence,” shouted the FM. His MSPs had fits.

“I would be grateful if we could try to behave ourselves with decorum,” said Ms Johnstone.

“I think you should be softer with SNP members, Presiding Officer,” said Mr Sarwar. “It is the first time they’ve shown life in weeks.” 

Finally, Mr Yousaf outdid Ms Todd in the quotation stakes, as he sidled out of a pledge on universal free school meals.

The SNP was “both the party of universalism, but also the party that makes sure we target our resources,” he said. 

His MSPs both clapped their hands but also looked dead in the eyes.

It was his best week yet.