Tory MSP Alexander Burnett has expressed his pride at the party retaining the Aberdeenshire West seat and dashing SNP hopes for a majority in the Scottish Parliament election.
Mr Burnett returns for another term at Holyrood with 19,709 votes while SNP candidate Fergus Mutch received 16,319 votes.
Also on the ballot were Labour’s Andrew Philip Brown (2,382 votes) and Rosemary Bruce of the Lib Dems (3,363).
When asked about stopping the SNP majority, Mr Burnett said: “There were a few comments about that which I’d seen on social media – I tried to stay away from it most of last night to do my nerves some good.
“I don’t know the rest of the results but if a message has come out that this was a seat which stopped the SNP getting a majority then so much the better.
“I’m very, very proud of Aberdeenshire West being that seat.”
The Scottish Conservative also hit out actions taken during the campaign, including having swastikas drawn on posters, as well as receiving abuse on social media which made him feel “very bad”.
He added: “It’s not pleasant, there’s been a lot of abuse during the campaign and during the last five years, like you’ve seen on social media.
“When people actually go out of their way to go on to somebody else’s property, to vandalise somebody else’s private property and think that that is acceptable in a democratic process is nothing short of disgraceful – it’s a scandal.
“I hope the people who did that if they listen to this are feeling some sense of shame now, because the amount of people who got in touch with me on the back of that to express their disgust with that kind of behaviour was quite considerable.”
Despite defeat, Mr Mutch maintained positivity, telling the PA news agency: “We fought a fantastic campaign and slightly disappointing but we did tremendously well to increase the SNP votes in Aberdeenshire West, our share of the vote as well, and of course across Scotland it’s a fantastic result for the SNP – an emphatic win.
“It was great, my fellow candidates ran very civil campaigns and you know we didn’t have much interaction with each other because there weren’t the usual in-person hustings and events and town hall meetings but we saw each other plenty of times on Zoom.
“It was a well fought campaign and congratulations Alexander on his victory.”
Earlier in the day, former first minister Alex Salmond wished his former SNP colleague well.
The Alba Party leader told PA he spoke to several SNP candidates at the count in Aberdeen’s P&J Live venue, adding: “I found no difficulty whatsoever and know that the SNP have been a little bit nervous and sending people letters saying if they are associated with Alba they might be disciplined by the SNP or all sorts of things.
“I’m putting that down to over enthusiasm of some people who have just joined the SNP and perhaps not aware of the politeness of which the SNP normally conducts its operations.
“But certainly I found nothing but interest in talking to some old colleagues, and in particular today I wish Fergus Mutch – who used to work for me of course – all the best in Aberdeenshire West.”
Mr Mutch said: “I had a run in with him in Huntly Square last weekend, but I didn’t see much of him on the campaign.
“I think Alba’s approach was going round with loud hailers making a lot of noise but they haven’t done too well and in the results.
“I certainly wasn’t distracted… I had a job to do and we managed to do it to some degree in upping our share of the vote and in getting the most votes we’ve ever got for the SNP in Aberdeenshire West and I don’t think the Alba effect really impacted us at all.”
Mr Salmond failed in his bid to win a seat in the area on the North East regional list.
The Scottish Conservatives retained four seats on the list, Scottish Labour retained two and the Scottish Greens gained a seat from the Liberal Democrats.