Willie Rennie has said a message of “put the recovery first” will be at the heart of the Liberal Democrats’ election campaign.
He said Tory leader Douglas Ross was “not capable” of building an alliance while he “got on well” with Labour’s Anas Sarwar.
The Scottish Lib Dem leader kicked off his election tour at The Great Polish Map of Scotland at Barony Castle in the Scottish Borders on Friday.
He said: “In the next Scottish Parliament, Liberal Democrats will put recovery first.
“That means cutting waits for mental health, delivering a bounce-back plan for education, more jobs and action on the climate.
“The SNP will put independence first. No matter what your view on independence, most people would agree that in the wake of a terrible pandemic is not the moment for that.”
Speaking to journalists, Mr Rennie said he was not interested in coalition deals after the election.
He added: “The Conservatives have shown themselves incapable of building an alliance in Scotland.
“I think what we need to have in Scotland is parties that are capable of bringing the country back together again and ending the division of recent years.
“I think Douglas Ross has not shown himself capable of reaching out and building that alliance.
“It’s no secret that I get on well with Anas Sarwar and we have an awful lot in common and I’m sure we’d be able to work together on things.”
Mr Rennie’s statements came shortly before Alex Salmond announced his bid to return to Holyrood with the newly-formed Alba Party.