NICOLA Sturgeon issued a tongue-in-cheek “welcome” for Boris Johnson by wielding a battle axe ahead of an expected visit by the Prime Minister to Scotland.

The First Minister, who was in Shetland to launch the SNP’s by-election campaign, tweeted the picture with the message “Ready for you Prime Minister”, before adding that she was “joking obvs”.

It is expected that Johnson will visit Scotland this week, although Downing Street has refused to confirm suggestions he will hold a meeting of his Cabinet in Glasgow tomorrow.

According to reports, “clear the air” talks will be held with Scottish party chief Ruth Davidson, after tensions ramped up between the Tory leaders on either side of the Border.

Davidson refused to back Johnson in the leadership contest, giving her support to his opponents Sajid Javid, Michael Gove and Jeremy Hunt (below).

The National:

Johnson subsequently ignored Davidson’s plea to keep Scottish Secretary David Mundell in post, leaving her “livid” over his sacking.

Mundell has been replaced by MP Alister Jack, a Brexit supporter.

The appointment of English MP Robin Walker as a junior minister in the Scotland Office on Friday has also widely been seen as a snub to Scotland’s Tory MPs.

Glasgow SNP MP David Linden said: “The test for Ruth Davidson will be whether she has the backbone to stand up for Scotland’s decision to remain in the EU – or whether she will just roll over and accept Boris Johnson’s bid to impose a disastrous Brexit against Scotland’s will.

“After the humiliation of recent weeks, it’s clear that Davidson no longer has any influence with her leaders at Westminster or their MPs in Scotland – and she may well be looking to shore up her own position in the event that she faces a leadership challenge.

READ MORE: An open letter to the new Scottish Secretary, Alister Jack

“Extreme Tory plans to drag Scotland out of the EU would be devastating – threatening to cause a recession, put 100,000 Scottish jobs at risk, and cost every person £2300 a year.

“The SNP will continue to do everything we can to stop Brexit, prevent a no-deal disaster and stand up for Scotland in the face of the most extreme, right-wing Tory Government since Thatcher.

“Whatever happens next, it’s clearer than ever that the only way to properly protect Scotland’s interests is by becoming an equal and independent European country.”

On Thursday, Sturgeon and Johnson held talks on the phone.

The Scottish Government has indicated a meeting between the leaders has yet to be scheduled.

READ MORE: This is what Boris Johnson's new Cabinet means for Scotland

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The First Minister spoke with the Prime Minister on Thursday evening and indicated she would be happy to meet him to discuss the issues highlighted in her letter, including how to avoid a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.

“She hopes that meeting will be arranged soon.”

A spokeswoman for Downing Street said details of what the Prime Minister would be doing tomorrow would be “confirmed in due course”.

Yesterday Johnson was in Manchester to pledge funding for a new rail link between the city and Leeds, and announced a £3.6 billion fund to improve infrastructure.