Sketch: Davidson’s debut lacked punch of her pugilistic predecessor

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IF RUTH Davidson was nervous ahead of her first joust with Alex Salmond as leader of the Tories, she wasn’t showing it.

The former BBC presenter turned 33 yesterday and told MSPs it wasn’t everyone who could celebrate their birthday with the “boost” of front page coverage in The Scotsman.

Unfortunately for Ms Davidson, the coverage centred on internal rows within Tory ranks as many of her senior colleagues rejected the roles she had pencilled in for them.

The looming independence referendum was the subject of Ms Davidson’s questioning after national poet Liz Lochhead had indicated she would back separation if a poll were held tomorrow.

It was all bog standard stuff – a familiar trot around the same old arguments, with the First Minister insisting he would stick to the party’s clearly stated pre-election pledge to hold the referendum from 2014 onwards.

A solid if underwhelming debut was sufficient for Ms Davidson, who must have been desperate to avoid a clanger.

She was certainly short of the punchy performances that her predecessor Annabel Goldie turned in on Thursdays at noon.

In kickboxing parlance, she will need to up her game if she is to land a glove – or foot – on the First Minister.