Kate Forbes is due to face a grilling by MSPs next week as the Highlander continues her audition for a top job in government.
Fresh from receiving widespread plaudits for stepping into the breach to deliver the Budget on Thursday, the 29-year-old is now expected to appear before Holyrood’s finance and constitution committee on Wednesday to give evidence on the government’s tax and spending proposals.
The session has been scheduled despite Holyrood being in recess, due to timetable changes caused by delays to the Westminster Budget.
Ms Forbes, the Dingwall-born public finance minister, is also due to lead formal talks with opposition parties in a bid strike an agreement that ensures the Budget secures enough backing to pass by the stage three debate on March 5.
The stakes will be high for the Gaelic-speaking Cambridge graduate, who has been parachuted into action following the shock resignation of Finance Secretary Derek Mackay just a few hours before he was due to unveil the Budget on Thursday.
Any failure to win approval for the plan could ultimately trigger an election, and the job may have been made even harder by the recent stance of the Scottish Greens, who have backed the previous three Budgets, but have now demanded the cancellation of the dualling of the A9 Inverness to Perth road and the A96 Inverness to Aberdeen route.
Insiders have suggested that Ms Forbes’ assured performance on Thursday, in unprecedented circumstances, may have made her the front-runner to become the next finance and economy secretary, and that negotiating the Budget through parliament would make her case for the promotion almost impossible to ignore.
If so, she could add becoming the first female finance secretary since devolution to her achievements, which this week have already included becoming the first woman to deliver the Budget and the youngest MSP to do so.
Some, including Conservative finance spokesman Murdo Fraser, have even tipped the Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch to be the next first minister.
Prediction: @KateForbesMSP will be First Minister by the summer. You heard it here first.
— Murdo Fraser (@murdo_fraser) February 6, 2020
However, others have suggested privately that her views on some social issues, such as gender recognition and abortion, might count against her when Nicola Sturgeon makes her decision about Mr Mackay’s long-term replacement.
Either way, the spotlight is sure to remain on the SNP’s new rising star for much longer than just her 32-minute speech on Thursday.