The Tories gained 36.1 per cent of the vote, up from 31.1 per cent in 2015, while the SNP saw their share fall sharply from 49.5 per cent to 31.6 per cent.
It would be nice to believe that Thursday's election was a series of local referendums on local services rendered (or not), but it would be a fantasy: this was a national election fought on national issues, and those issues revolved around the prospect of another independence referendum.
Ms Sturgeon will tell voters in Perth that Tory gains came from Labour rather than her party and warn that "the Tory mask" has slipped in recent days.
Following the local elections which saw the SNP come out as the largest party across Scotland's local authorities, the SNP leader warned Prime Minister Theresa May that her flirtation with Ukip voters in England to pursue a hard negotiating stance with the European Union will result in the "sacrifice of thousands of Scottish jobs".
Nevertheless, the SNP (slightly) overplayed its hand in this election, giving the impression it would win overall control of local authorities in Aberdeen and Glasgow.
Writing in the Scotsman newspaper, he said: "While the party's vote was up on 2012 in much of the West of Scotland, including by eight points in Glasgow, it was sharply down in many of its traditional strongholds in the north-east". The SNP will fight to protect the interests of the people of Scotland.
Inverurie and District's new councillors are Neil Baillie (SNP), Colin Clark (Scottish Conservative and Unionist), Marion Ewenson (Scottish Liberal Democrats) and Judy Whyte (Independent).
That compares to the 394 seats the party won in 2012.
Ms Davidson also went on to criticise Labour, who slumped to become the third largest party in Scotland's councils, adding: "As for Labour, they were left to count the cost of decades of complacency, arrogance and a failure to respond to the concerns of ordinary families".
The other three rebel councils, in all of which the SNP are now the biggest group, are expected to follow suit.
Nicola Sturgeon hailed the Scottish local elections as an "emphatic" win for the SNP - despite the Tories gaining 167 seats and returning a record number of councillors.
James Kelly Labour campaign manager said: "This analysis shows that Labour is ahead of the SNP or within touching distance of the SNP in seven seats across Scotland".
A total of 1,227 councillors are being elected across the 32 councils.
Despite the heavy losses, some in the party feared the results could have been even worse.
Voters also backed the Tories in the Borders constituency of Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk, where first preference votes outstripped the SNP by 20 per cent.
Labour leader Kezia Dugdale described the results as " obviously a disappointing election".
Lib Dem leader Tim Farron is bringing his campaign bus to Scotland as the party target constituencies such as East Dunbartonshire and Edinburgh West.
Although that marked the first time that the SNP had managed to outpoll Labour in local elections, the outcome was, in truth, widely regarded as a disappointment for the nationalists.