Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond has appeared in court charged with attempted rape and sexual assault.

Mr Salmond faced a total of 14 charges when he appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

He was charged with two counts of attempted rape, nine counts of sexual assault, two of indecent assault and one breach of the peace.

After a brief hearing, which was held in private, he said: "Now that these proceedings are live it is even more important to respect the court and therefore the only thing I can say is I refute absolutely these allegations of criminality and I will defend myself to the utmost in court.

"I've got great faith in the court system in Scotland."

He made no plea during the hearing and was released on bail.

Mr Salmond was arrested yesterday after attending a police station in central Scotland.

From Linlithgow, West Lothian, Mr Salmond was Scotland's first minister from 2007 to 2014.

He resigned his membership of the SNP in August 2018.

Mr Salmond guided the party to a narrow Scottish election win in 2007 and then led a minority government as he became Scotland's first SNP first minister.

In the 2011 election, he led the party to an unprecedented victory with a majority win, meaning the SNP's manifesto pledge to hold an independence referendum could be delivered.

But the result of the 2014 referendum - a 55% to 45% vote to stay in the UK - led to him stepping down as first minister and SNP leader.

Mr Salmond last year took legal action against the government - now led by his former Scottish National Party (SNP) colleague Nicola Sturgeon - over how it handled the complaints process against him over harassment claims.

Earlier this month, he won his judicial review in Scotland's highest civil court after the government conceded it had acted unlawfully while investigating the claims.

But the police's separate criminal investigation continued.

Charges issued by the Crown Office

Full name - Alexander Elliot Anderson Salmond.

DOB - 31/12/1954.

i) Breach of the Peace
ii) Indecent Assault
iii) Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 S3 (Sexual Assault)
iv) Indecent Assault
v) Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 S3 (Sexual Assault)
vi) Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 S3 (Sexual Assault)
vii) Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 S3 (Sexual Assault)
viii) Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 S3 (Sexual Assault)
ix) Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 S3 (Sexual Assault)
x) Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 S1 (Attempted Rape)
xi) Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 S3 (Sexual Assault)
xii) Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 Si (Attempted Rape)
xiii) Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 S3 (Sexual Assault)
xiv) Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 S3 (Sexual Assault)

Plea - No plea.

Outcome - Continued for further examination and released on bail.

Next appearance - TBC.