EX Ferguson's owner Jim McColl has accused the Scottish Government of ignoring its own adviser who warned against nationalisation of the shipyard.

Retired commodore and shipbuilding expert Luke van Beek was brought in by ministers to get to the bottom of what went wrong with the disastrous £97 million contract to build two new CalMac ferries - the order which ultimately brought the Port Glasgow business to its knees.

In a report to the government, the troubleshooter advised against public ownership of the Newark yard, suggesting it would lead to increased costs and further delays to MV Glen Sannox and the unnamed Hull 802.

The vessels, which should have entered service last year, are now expected to cost double the original price.

The independent adviser also said construction issues were 'outside Ferguson's control', adding that Mr McColl's team had the 'managerial and technical capability to deliver both ships'.

Details of his findings - released under freedom of information laws - emerged after the government was named preferred bidder for the yard last week.

Ferguson's is expected to become state-owned within the next four weeks.

Mr McColl believes that is a mistake.

He said: "The vessels could have been delivered earlier and at a much lower cost to the public purse than will now be the case. "The government's own independent expert confirmed this and warned Derek Mackay against nationalisation.

"The damaging Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) contract, coupled with the government's unwillingness to take a strong leadership role, has led to the grave difficulties the business is currently experiencing. "Sadly, the nationalisation of the shipyard has killed off the opportunity for the rebirth of commercial shipbuilding on the Clyde and severely damaged the long-term impact on local jobs and the economy."

Mr McColl - who is a member of the government's economic council - rescued Ferguson's in 2014 and then oversaw a £25m transformation of the yard.

In August, the business went into administration for the second time in five years after the engineering tycoon and Port Glasgow-based CMAL - the state-owned company in charge of ferries and harbours in the west of Scotland - failed to reach an agreement to finish the ferries.

Mr McColl insists his team was 'never free' to take their claim to court at 'any point' - as has been repeatedly suggested by the government - and added that to suggest otherwise is 'grossly disingenuous'.

A government spokesperson said: "The Scottish Government's priorities remain the completion of the two CalMac ferries and securing a future for the yard and its workforce.

"We have been working for over two years to find a resolution to the difficulties at Ferguson Marine and our preference has always been to identify commercial options to address the contractual issues, keep the yard going and to finish the vessels. "A range of independent expert advice and proposals made by the business have been considered in our efforts to resolve the matter and FMEL were free to take their claim to court at any point.

"In the absence of a workable commercial solution the administrators of Ferguson's have concluded the proposal of ministers to bring the yard into public ownership is now in the best interests of the creditors."