IT'S fair to say that Humza Yousaf has had a rocky start to his time as First Minister.

In ordinary times, a leader would be allowed a grace period to settle in.

It’s unfair to expect anything resembling perfection in the first few months in any job – let alone one that brings such unique pressures.

Unfortunately for Mr Yousaf, the SNP’s current troubles mean the party can’t afford a lengthy induction period for its new leader.

At any given moment, it feels as though the party is just one bad headline away from a rammy in the street.

This sense of unease has inevitably seeped into FMQs.

The National: Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross during First Minster's Questions (FMQ's) in the debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. Picture date: Thursday September 29, 2022..

As Douglas Ross (above) so cheerfully pointed out last week, the SNP backbenches have been uncharacteristically muted since Nicola Sturgeon’s departure.

At times, the First Minister has struggled during the weekly question and answer session, giving answers to opposition leaders that were overlong, peppered with management-speak and lacking in punch.

On Thursday, he finally made a breakthrough.

He was helped there by the fact that Anas Sarwar dutifully laid out a trap for himself and then jumped head-first into it.

The Scottish Labour leader asked the First Minister: "What is better for Scotland; a Labour government, or a Tory government?" 

In other words, would you prefer a kick in the knee or a punch in the face?

In response, the First Minister said that Scotland would be best served by becoming independent and having the full powers that would come with it.

READ MORE: 'I don't agree': Humza Yousaf rejects calls to END free tuition fees in Scotland

He then laid into Keir Starmer for his refusal to commit to repealing a whole swathe of damaging Tory policies, as well as his recent U-turn on scrapping tuition fees.

"Scotland doesn’t need cruel, harmful policies imposed upon it – whether it’s by a politician that wears a blue tie, or a politician that wears a red tie.

"What Scotland needs is the full powers of an independent nation to chart our course and get out of this unequal and broken Union," said the First Minister, which raised his party colleagues from their slumber.

By way of reply, Anas Sarwar spent a long time shouting above SNP heckles to read out the Labour manifesto. He went on to say that Humza Yousaf would prefer a Tory government to use as cover for his own incompetence.

"We don’t want to replace Tory with Tory-lite," said the First Minister.

"We know that Keir Starmer is lurching to the right: they are little more than a Conservative tribute act." 

"They’re more interested in attacking Labour than getting rid of a Tory government," retorted Anas Sarwar.

He then began another mini-speech about why people in Scotland should back Labour which was, mercifully, cut short by the Presiding Officer when she prompted Mr Sarwar to get to the point and ask his question.

See, this is the thing: amidst all the SNP turmoil, it’s easy to forget just how insufferably arrogant Scottish Labour politicians can be.

A few decent polls and they start acting like English football fans when they qualify for the world cup.