With the SNP falling one seat short of a majority, the Greens' eight seats could prove crucial in the fight for independence.
Giving an acceptance speech after being re-elected in Glasgow, the First Minister said her party is set for a fourth term in power.
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar came in second but was 9000 votes behind Sturgeon.
After the polls closed on Thursday evening there was no overnight count in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Votes in some 46 of the 73 constituency seats will be counted from about 9am on Friday.
Counting due to begin around 9am on Friday morning with final results over the weekend.
Voters are growing increasingly aware of how they will use both votes in Holyrood elections, Patrick Harvie has said.
Rennie urged voters to back his party to deprive the SNP of a majority and avert the prospect of another referendum.
Sarwar said his national recovery plan shows voters Scottish Labour is united and ‘future-looking’ ahead of the Holyrood election.
The Scottish Tory leader said politicians are ‘wasting everyone’s time’ if they cannot have a civilised debate.
The SNP leader hit out as she made a last appeal for votes ahead of polling day on Thursday.
Winning a majority in the Scottish Parliament is something that has so far only been achieved by Alex Salmond.
Anas Sarwar is aiming to overtake the Tories as Holyrood’s second-largest party at the election.
Recent opinion polls point to an increased vote share for Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater’s party.
The Scottish Liberal Democrat campaign is urging voters to elect a Parliament prioritising recovery from the pandemic over Scottish independence.
Alex Salmond and George Galloway are both fronting parties vying for seats in the Scottish Parliament.
The claims have been made in a report by the right-leaning foreign affairs think-tank the Henry Jackson Society.
The Chancellor spoke out ahead of Thursday’s crucial Holyrood election.
Nicola Sturgeon was interviewed on Good Morning Britain ahead of the Scottish Parliament election on Thursday.
A total of 34 of the 129 members in the last Parliament are not standing for re-election on May 6.