THE defeated SNP candidate in the Dumbarton constituency says tactical voting played a significant role in his failure to win the marginal seat.

Toni Giugliano had high hopes of capturing the constituency from Labour’s Jackie Baillie for the first time since the Scottish Parliament was established in 1999.

Mr Giugliano increased both the SNP’s total vote and the party’s vote share compared to the last Holyrood election in 2016.

But in the end he fell short as Ms Baillie increased her majority from a wafer-thin 109 five years ago to 1,483 this time round.

Mr Giugliano made no speech on the platform, and did not give a statement to the waiting press after the result was declared at Clydebank Leisure Centre at 8.35pm on Friday.

In a statement issued on social media on Saturday, he said: “Congratulations to Jackie Baillie on holding her seat.

“I’m immensely proud of my campaign and my team.

"Our vote came out in large numbers - particularly in Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven.

“However the Tory vote in Helensburgh went to Labour in extraordinary numbers to keep us out.

“The sound of Tory activists cheering louder than Labour at yesterday’s count speaks for itself.

“To the 16,342 people who voted SNP - please know that your voice has been heard.

"No tactical voting will stop independence in a referendum.

“Scotland is on a journey to statehood and I look forward to playing my part in shaping it.”

As results elsewhere in Scotland were declared on Friday afternoon, it became clear that the Dumbarton constituency would play a key role in whether the SNP won an overall majority at Holyrood – and eventually Ms Baillie’s victory was one of the results that led to the SNP falling one seat short of that target.