"The bill would require a majority; where that majority came from it is far too early to say."
with those of John Swinney conceding defeat on LIT earlier this month.
"We cannot put together a stable majority to enable us successfully to steer detailed local income tax legislation through this parliament."
So the Nats are unable to work from a position of minority Government. They concede defeat on their ability to do the one thing they need to make it work, getting an issue by issue majority.
But is the language being used by Russell paving the way for another failure to even contemplate achieving one of their key election pledges. But this time the one in question is more significant as it is the raison d'etre of the whole SNP's existence. But the language is close to concession and that less than a month into being given the responsibility.
Indeed Tavish Scott has this advise for the Minister based on the SNP's record:
"If the minister has no idea where he'll get parliamentary support, then using the SNP's previous rules, they should dump plans for a referendum."