The First Minister's claim was made yesterday as polls today show a further slump in support both for independence and a second referendum.
Today, the Scottish Conservatives are publishing quotes from the SNP in recent elections where - as the First Minister did yesterday - the party has tried to argue that its campaign was not about its unpopular plan for independence.
Yet, after each result, the SNP has then gone on to use any gains made to push the case for separation - culminating in Nicola Sturgeon's demand for a second divisive referendum in March.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said:
“The First Minister risks turning herself into a laughing stock here.
“For the last few months, everyone in Scotland has seen her do nothing else but campaign for an unwanted second independence referendum.
“Yet now there's an election on, she suddenly tells people independence isn't the issue for her and orders her troops - don't mention the 'i' word.
“After the last few months of talking about nothing else, who does she think she's kidding?
“We've heard it all before. At every election, the SNP says the vote has nothing to do with independence. Afterwards, it claims that separation is ever closer.
“More and more people in Scotland have wised up to these nationalist games.
“And more and more of them know that only the Scottish Conservatives have what it takes to stop the SNP in its tracks and say no to its plans to split our country in two.
“This time round, she won't get away with it.”