Poor Humza Yousaf doesn't have his troubles to seek. He even has to face one of the big boys from his old school – Vladimir McTavish

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In the absence of much real news in the Peter Murrell case over the past week, there has been an inevitable amount of rumour and innuendo surrounding the story.

Of course, much of the chatter and speculation trotted out over the past ten days has been spectacularly ill-informed. Many people, for example, believed that Police Scotland had spent much of the weekend digging up the garden, looking for evidence. Or perhaps just looking for Easter eggs?

However, it appears the police did not dig up the garden, despite being seen carrying shovels. Apparently, they were simply removing the spades from a garage. Which raises as many questions as it answers. Exactly why they would be removing shovels from a garage in the first place is anyone’s guess, and the seed of anyone else’s rumour.

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It always did strike me as being far-fetched that an investigation into the finances of the SNP would involve digging up Murrell and Sturgeon’s garden. What would they have been expecting to find? There may have been a hole in the SNP’s coffers of around £600,000, but they surely weren’t reckoning on finding over half-a-million quid in used banknotes in a carrier bag, buried under the rose bushes.

Perhaps they were looking for the 30,000 SNP members who have reportedly gone missing in the past 18 months. They surely can’t all have been hiding in there. Or perhaps they were simply looking for evidence of Ash Regan’s career prospects. If they were, they would have had to dig very deep indeed.

What is not in doubt is that the whole operation carried out by Police Scotland was a tad over the top. Did they really need to turn up in four squad cars to arrest one guy? Were they expecting Murrell to do a runner? Surely any self-respecting polis would have been able to catch him if he did. The man hardly looks like an athlete.

While it can’t be a whole lot of fun having a bunch of cops camped outside your house, it is probably a whole lot less fun being Humza Yousaf. It really is hard not to feel sympathy for the new First Minister, barely a fortnight into the job. I wonder if he still thinks he’s the “luckiest man in the world”.

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Not only has he inherited a groaning in-tray on his First Minister’s desk, which he had fully expected, but he also has a whole lot of problems to sort out as party leader. It’s fair to say that he probably hadn’t anticipated the seriousness of those issues. Understandably, he will be worried about how much this will affect his standing in the polls, with Scottish Labour reportedly gaining support at the SNP’s expense.

Humza Yousaf pulls a face (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)Humza Yousaf pulls a face (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Humza Yousaf pulls a face (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Humza is obviously well aware of Anas Sarwar. The Labour leader was two years ahead of the First Minister at the same Glasgow school. It could be daunting facing him at FMQs. Or it could be motivating. At a gig in Glasgow, I saw a face in the audience I vaguely recognised. He’d been the prefect who shopped me to the headmaster for smoking. Making him the but of my jokes all night was highly cathartic.

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