First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she is “absolutely confident” that both Angus Robertson and Alex Salmond will hang onto their north-east seats.
The SNP leader refused to countenance any possibility of her high-profile colleagues facing defeat at next month’s Westminster election.
The Conservatives are seeking big scalps in both the Moray and Gordon constituencies, while the Liberal Democrats also believe they can win back Gordon, which Sir Malcolm Bruce held for the party for more than 30 years.
But Ms Sturgeon insisted she had no concerns over the future of the SNP’s Westminster leader, or her predecessor as first minister.
Speaking to the Press and Journal in Inverness yesterday, she said: “They are not going to lose their seats. Obviously they are out there campaigning hard and in any constituency it’s up to the electorate.
“But you know, Angus, it’s no surprise that the Tories are targeting Angus Robertson’s seat. He has been the thorn in the side of Theresa May at prime minister’s questions since she has been prime minister, and before it was David Cameron.
“He’s been the effective opposition to the Tories over the past two years and I’m absolutely confident that he will be the MP for Moray and the leader of the SNP Westminster group after the election.”
She added: “And Alex, well, you know I remember when Alex first stood in Gordon in 2007 and people said he couldn’t possibly win. I think Alex Salmond has confounded expectations in every election he has fought in, and I’m confident he will be the MP for Gordon after the election too.
“He’s a great champion for that constituency, as he is for the country as a whole.”
Last night, Sir Malcolm said the Lib Dems were the “clear challenger” to Mr Salmond in Gordon.
“The tide is turning, and indeed has turned, going away from the SNP. That is clear on almost every doorstep,” he added.
“People voted No in the independence referendum, in Aberdeenshire and Gordon in particular, and then we sent 56 MPs to Westminster to nothing other than try to rip us out of the UK.
“That’s not what the people of Gordon wanted but that’s what they got, and I think people are realising that.”
A Scottish Conservative spokesman said: “The SNP should not be taking any seat for granted. It is absolutely clear that this election is a two horse race in many Scottish constituencies,
including Moray and Gordon.
“The behaviour of Alex Salmond in particular in recent days would suggest that the Nationalists are rattled and worried about holding onto these seats.”