An "unfortunate" impression was created that SNP ministers had legal advice on an independent Scotland's place in Europe when they did not, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon conceded.
The Scottish Government had gone to court to try to prevent any advice that they held on the key issue from being revealed.
But, on Tuesday, Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs the Government had only now commissioned "specific legal advice from our law officers on the position of Scotland within the European Union (EU)".
A furious row erupted, with First Minister Alex Salmond being branded a "bare-faced liar" after he appeared to suggest such advice had been taken.
BBC political interviewer Andrew Neil asked Mr Salmond directly in March if he had sought advice from Scottish law officers on the matter of Scotland's future in Europe.
The First Minister replied: "We have, yes, in terms of the debate."
Ms Sturgeon insisted ministers had "never confirmed whether or not we did have legal advice because we're not allowed to do so under the ministerial code".
She told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme: "We were very deliberately not confirming whether we had legal advice."
But she conceded the impression had been created that ministers had already taken legal advice on the matter.
She stated: "Given the fact that previously I think the impression had been created that we had legal advice that we were not prepared to reveal because somehow it did not suit our purposes, I think was an unfortunate one. Therefore when we were in a position to seek that legal advice we decided, I decided, to seek the permission of the Lord Advocate to tell the Scottish Parliament that."