NICOLA Sturgeon has indicated a judge from outside Scotland could lead the inquiry into the malicious prosecutions concerning Rangers Football Club.

The First Minister said there is "an argument for that" after being questioned over the issue by Scottish Tory MSP Russell Findlay.

He said the "self-inflicted damage to the Crown Office's reputation is unquantifiable". 

Administrators David Whitehouse and Paul Clark were each awarded £10.5 million in damages after being wrongfully prosecuted during a fraud investigation relating to the sale of Rangers.

Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish Government supports "both parliamentary and wider public accountability in these cases". 

She said the parliament previously passed a motion supporting a judge-led inquiry, adding: "Of course, this can only happen when related legal proceedings are completed. 

"There are currently legal proceedings that remain live in relation to these cases. 

"However, there will be an inquiry once these proceedings have concluded."

During First Minister's Questions, Mr Findlay said one big question remains unanswered, "and that is will the judge leading the inquiry be from outwith Scotland?"

Ms Sturgeon said: "Yes, I think there is an argument for that, but these decisions have got to be taken in the proper way, in the proper time. 

"We're committed to this. Of course the Crown Office in prosecution matters acts entirely independently of ministers. 

"It's important that there is a remit for this inquiry and it is led by a judge that commands confidence. 

"That's in the interests of everyone, and we will take these decisions once the proceedings have concluded."