“Neck and neck” is how things were supposedly shaping up at the Dingwall count at midnight, in the key battle between Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander and his main rival Drew Hendry, the SNP Highland Council leader.
With ballot boxes still being opened and numbers still to be crunched, several of Mr Alexander’s Liberal Democrat were nevertheless distinctly nervous ahead of the verdict.
In contrast, nationalists were buoyed by what they said they had experienced on the doorsteps in the latter stages of the campaign.
Ballot papers already stacked up ready to be counted suggested the margin between the two parties could be miniscule. The Lib Dems are defending an 8,765 majority.
One Lib Dem campaigner spoke of “vitriol and anger” towards his party while canvassing for this election. The precise reason, he said, was unclear.
Mr Hendry’s party and council colleague Maxine Smith was, however, ecstatic with a television Exit Poll suggesting the SNP could sweep to power tonight in all but one Scottish seat.
“The SNP have turned over pretty well everything they possibly could,” she said.
There was a consensus among party workers looking on at the Dingwall count that people had voted tactically like never before and that it was clearly between the Lib Dems and the SNP.
“It’s sad that it’s come to this,” said one Lib Dem campaigner, seemingly resigned to Mr Alexander’s losing his seat.
“We were misunderstood in what we did at Westminster. I think we failed to get the message across about what we did stop the Conservative Government from doing.”