Nicola Sturgeon and SNP MSPs celebrate at Kelpies

Historic and iconic...First Minister Nicola Sturgeon joined by the SNP's newly elected members of the Scottish Parliament after securing the party's historic third consecutive election victory. (Picture Michael Gillen)

Historic and iconic...First Minister Nicola Sturgeon joined by the SNP's newly elected members of the Scottish Parliament after securing the party's historic third consecutive election victory. (Picture Michael Gillen)

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Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish National Party MSPs toasted their victory on Saturday – with a photocall at Falkirk’s iconic Kelpies.

It was a fitting celebration for the SNP’s victory at the polls on Thursday, returning Nicola as the country’s First Minister and the party for a record third term at Holyrood.

While the SNP lost its overall majority in the Scottish Parliament – two seats short of a majority in the 129-seat parliament – Ms Sturgeon has already ruled out forming a coalition.

But accompanied by many of the party’s 63 MSPs, she was in a celebratory mood during the photocall at the Kelpies in Falkirk on Saturday.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I think this is a fantastic sight and I’m not just talking about the Kelpies, wonderful though they are!

“The SNP’s victory in the election on Thursday was of historic proportions. We became the first party in the devolution era to poll more than one milion votes in constituencies across the country.

“We won overwhelmingly and have a clear and unequivocal mandate to implement the manifesto that we fought and won this election on.”

Ms Sturgeon said the SNP would compromise, in the best interests of Scotland; she would work to try to find “common ground” with opposition parties while the SNP governs as a minority administration, as it did between 2007 and 2011.

Ms Sturgeon added: “It’s fair to say the victory of the SNP on Thursday was emphatic and that is the political reality we now carry with us into a new parliamentary term.”

Most of the SNP’s big names were re-elected – Aileen McLeod was the only former government minister to lose her seat. They will be joined by 16 new faces.

The election also saw the Conservatives record their best Holyrood result after winning 31 seats and replacing Labour – who won 24 – as the parliament’s second largest party.

The Scottish Greens finished fourth after winning six seats – one ahead of the Liberal Democrats.