Former first minister of Scotland Alex Salmond has been accused of "breaking his word to the Scottish people".

Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie made the disparaging remarks after Salmond announced on Saturday that he believes he will get a second chance to hold an independence referendum for Scotland – and this time he will win.

In an interview with The Times, Salmond said an English vote to take the UK out of the European Union if Scots vote to stay could be the "tipping point" that brings about another poll.

Despite previously saying independence was a "once in a generation opportunity", the 59-year-old MSP now believes he will see independence in his lifetime.

Rennie said: "Alex Salmond said the referendum was a once-in-a-generation opportunity. But now, if he gets his way, another one will be just round the corner. It beggars believe that within weeks of losing the last referendum he is boasting of a victory in the next one.

Nationalists lost the vote for independence in September 2014. Reuters

"I am sure people will be puzzled that Alex Salmond is rubbishing the Smith Commission which is transferring big welfare and tax powers to Scotland. It is odd as his party signed up to the package of powers", Rennie continued.

"The SNP took their eye off the ball during the referendum and cancer targets were missed, college places were slashed and hospitals went into crisis. Backing Alex Salmond's plans for another referendum is not in Scotland's interest."

Commenting on the proposed in/out referendum on the EU, Salmond said: "If you believe there are four equal nations, partners in this United Kingdom, then it seems reasonable that no one country should be dragged out of the European firmament against its will."

Unionists "made an offer which sounded big, but will be small" in their stylised countersigned "vow" of more devolution on the front page of the Daily Record, Salmond said.

"It's ironic that the thing that really did for us was the poll showing we were ahead," he said. "It prompted the 'vow' and that was the tipping point. For the swing voters, being offered power without risk was all it required."

He went on to say that David Cameron's vow for more devolved powers for Scotland in the result of a 'No' vote was a "betrayal".

"It was betrayal. It's presentation, not reality. It's still only 30% of tax revenues."