The First Minister was speaking to the media at Holyrood after Kate Forbes, Humza Yousaf and Ash Regan clashed over the Government’s record on the live STV event.
While Mr Yousaf, the Health Secretary, was generally the most positive, the finance secretary Ms Forbes was scathing about his performance at various portfolios.
She told him: “You were a transport minister and the trains were never on time, when you were justice secretary the police were stretched to breaking point, and now as health minister we’ve got record-high waiting times.
“What makes you think you can do a better job as first minister?”
Asked by STV political editor Colin Mackay, who hosted the hustings, what she made of the debate last night, Ms Sturgeon said: “Colin, I know this is going to break your heart, but I didn’t watch it.”
Asked by Mr Mackay if she was “behind the couch”, she said: “No, I was following all of your tweets. It seemed to be a feisty encounter. I’m sure you were the star of the show though.”
Asked if her leadership was “mediocre”, as suggested by Ms Forbes, she said: “The judge of my leadership has been and will continue to be the people of Scotland.
“I won eight elections in my eight years as leader.
“Look, I have chosen to step down from leadership.
“Those who are vying to succeed me have a right now to put forward their policies, their vision, their approaches to leadership, and it’s important they do that, they are doing that, and the party will make a decision.
“I think they have a right to do that actually without a running commentary from me.”
Asked if she had any advice for them about attacking each other, she said: “Look, we have a record in government to be proud of.
“I think what all candidates need to do – and I think all candidates are doing – are setting out how they will build on that and take that forward.
“But I don’t think they need help and advice from me in doing that.”
Asked if she thought Mr Yousaf had failed at transport, justice and health, as Ms Forbes alleged in the hustings, Ms Sturgeon said: “I think all of my ministers have done a good job.”
Asked if that included the ones she had to sack, Ms Sturgeon did not reply and walked away.