Dr Jim Walker – a candidate for central Scotland – was found to have called the first minister “a cow” on Twitter only days after Mr Salmond set up his breakaway pro-independence party.
In response to Ms Sturgeon’s criticism of Mr Salmond’s new party and the first minister’s claim that her predecessor was “a gambler”, Dr Walker wrote: “What a cow.”
On Tuesday the candidate said he was “pretty mortified” by the now-deleted tweet. “I have removed a tweet which was an inappropriate response to what I thought was mudslinging by the first minister.
“I freely apologise to her for the comment and also to my fellow Alba candidates. We must follow totally the leadership of Alex Salmond and rise above all negativity as we make the case for our noble cause of independence for our country.”
It follows an apology by another Alba Party candidate found to have made derogatory remarks about “Romanian beggars” being as “fat as over-fed pigs”.
Former boxing champion Alex Arthur – standing in the Lothian region – tweeted last year: “Them Romanian beggars in Edinburgh ain’t hungry!! Just drove past them all ready to switch up begging posts and ALL em fat as big juicy over-fed pigs!”
He apologised in a statement on Tuesday morning – but also claimed his remarks had been “misinterpreted” by some.
“Any comments about beggars that now look inappropriate are being misinterpreted, but that is my fault for the wording,” he said, adding: “I actually have Romanian friends.”
Mr Salmond has persuaded two SNP MPs and four councillors from Ms Sturgeon’s party to jump ship and join the Alba Party.
George Kerevan, the former SNP MP for West Lothian, also announced on Tuesday that he would be resigning from Ms Sturgeon’s party and joining the Alba Party.
Along with the founder of the Common Weal Group (CWG) in the SNP, Craig Berry, and the SNP’s central Scotland coordinator, Lynne Anderson, Mr Kerevan announced they would be joining Alba, describing the new party as a “cause for hope”.
The three said they had campaigned within the party for left-wing policies, and railed against what they said was a drift to the right in the SNP on economic issues and a stifling of internal democracy.