POLLING expert Sir John Curtice has set out his prediction for the results of the Scottish Parliament election.

The Strathclyde University professor estimates the SNP will return 64 MSPs overall, one short of a majority.

Curtice weighed up the last five polls of the campaigns to offer up his projection.

Professor John Curtice was speaking to BBC Good Morning Scotland

He told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme that the result of the election rests on nine marginal seats currently held by the LibDems, Tories and Labour.

“If you take the five opinion polls that were conducted in the last week or so of the campaign, they suggest that on average the SNP are running at 49 per cent on the constituency vote, although much lower – about 38 per cent - on the list,” he told listeners.

“The Conservatives are narrowly ahead of Labour – about 22 per cent conservatives to 21 per cent for Labour on the constituency vote - but the Conservatives enjoy a comfortable four-point lead on the list vote and that’s going to be the crucial one so far as seats are concerned.

“It looks like the Greens are heading for a record performance, they’ve been running at about 10 per cent in the final polls.

“Liberal Democrats are at around the six to seven points as last time. The Alba Party under Mr Salmond running at around three.”

Weighing up all those numbers – which is a “dangerous game”, he said – would suggest 64 seats for Nicola Sturgeon’s party. That means there is a 50/50 chance the party will win a majority, he added.

READ MORE: Live - Senedd election results from across Wales

It is now a question of how many of the nine marginal, opposition-held seats the SNP can pick up.

“That’s one of the things you really cannot tell from national polls, whether that’s going to happen or not,” he said.

Counts in more than half of Scotland’s parliamentary constituencies are starting at 9am, as the country awaits the outcome of its strangest election since devolution.

Votes in some 46 of the 73 constituency seats will be counted, with the first results expected from noon. It is anticipated all 46 should be declared by tonight.