SNP politicians have conceded defeat in the independence referendum in First Minister Alex Salmond's Aberdeenshire constituency.
With a turnout of 87.2%, a total of 180,045 votes cast, Sir Malcolm Bruce, Liberal Democrat MP for Gordon, put the outcome at 60-40 for a No vote from samples he had seen at the count.
The final declaration is due at around 5am.
Mr Salmond was expected to make an appearance at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre but is now believed to be travelling directly to Edinburgh from his home in Strichen.
On the prediction of a 60-40 No vote, Dr Eilidh Whiteford, SNP MP for Banff & Buchan, said: "I don't think that would be unrealistic but I think what you've got is very different results in different parts of Aberdeenshire.
"Expectations in Aberdeenshire were never going to be that stellar. We always realised that if you win Aberdeenshire you're going to win everywhere.
"I don't think we'll be ahead in Aberdeenshire, but I don't think it's probably in line with expectations.
Sir Malcolm said: "I've picked up what's going on elsewhere across the country and I don't think there's any doubt here.
"The point about this area is that it's Alex Salmond's backyard and his basic proposition has been overwhelmingly rejected here in Aberdeenshire, which I think will have implications."
On the First Minister's decision not to appear at the AECC count, Sir Malcolm said: "He only likes to come for acclamation, he doesn't like to come and commiserate with his troops. I think good leaders should be with their troops whether they win or lose but he only wants to be the centre of attention.
"He was coming here until he got first indication that it wasn't going well and he immediately aborted it."
Mr Salmond voted in Strichen on polling day before campaigning in nearby towns and villages.
SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson said: "At the end of the day, you always prefer to win but we always knew the size of the mountain we had to climb in Aberdeenshire.
"The challenge now bluntly in Aberdeenshire and elsewhere is for those who've won the referendum to deliver on the promises that they made to the people of Scotland.
"I think that's actually a very substantial challenge indeed for the No side. They've set themselves an ambitious target for moving forward with new powers for Scotland.
"In Aberdeenshire we've always seen it as a tough call, and if Aberdeenshire shows us what's happening nationally, and I don't know what the result is going to be, it delivers the challenge to our opponents. That's the bottom line.
"Nobody can walk away from this campaign, whatever the result is, without picking up a challenge."