It is “hard to see” Nicola Sturgeon leading the SNP at the next Holyrood election, her Liberal Democrat rival has said.

Alex Cole-Hamilton also predicted that support for the First Minister’s party could “crumble” if she quits.

The Scottish Liberal Democrat leader described Sturgeon as looking “knackered” after dealing with the coronavirus crisis for the last 18 months and also having to lead a “viper’s nest” of a party.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross recently bet the First Minister £50 that she will not be in charge of the SNP for the 2026 Holyrood election.

Cole-Hamilton said if that happens “the game changes entirely”.

Sturgeon has been First Minister since 2014, and if she is still in charge of the country by the next election she will have had a longer term in office than Margaret Thatcher.

She has “this solemn managerialism about her which I think people quite like”, Cole-Hamilton said.

“But there is nobody else like that in her party and I think that edifice of power and support will crumble when she goes.”

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