LABOUR'S new selection process for the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections is expected to see high-profile casualties, the return of anonymous MSPs, and bitter infighting among potential candidates.

The party will choose ­candidates it hopes will topple the SNP Government next time around in January, a full two-and-a-half years before the poll.

Part of its new campaign strategy is to "twin" constituencies, with a male and female candidate in either, a return to its gender-balancing rules of 1999 which caused internal friction.

But while Labour insists "no-one is being protected or shafted" sources in the Glasgow area, where the 2016 election will have a major impact on the city council, say the plans are likely to thwart the Holyrood comeback of former Scottish Executive culture and sport minister Frank McAveety and former MSP colleague Bill Butler.

The pair are currently senior councillors in the city but have not hidden their desire to return to Holyrood.

The plans also involve placing sitting MSPs at the top of the party's regional list, meaning the strong likelihood of a return for two of Labour's most inconspicuous elected representatives, Anne McTaggart and Hanzala Malik.

They can only be ousted by a trigger ballot by not securing over 50 votes from regional members.

Notably, city council leader Gordon Matheson has not been mentioned as a potential candidate in any Glasgow constituency.

Although Councillor Matheson has not explicitly expressed where his political ambitions lie, repeatedly stating his desire to see Glasgow through the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the selections have already taken place for Westminster 2015, meaning two doors out of local government now appear closed on him. One senior Labour source said: "You've the potential for bunfights all over the city, bruised egos, fall-outs and the return of MSPs who, to say the least, are hardly cutting it, let alone threatening the Nats.

"Experience is giving way to favourites and loyalty. It's also early to pick your candidates and really anything can happen between January and 2016."

It is understood Labour is ­writing off beating Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in the Southside constituency, with ­challenger last time round, and head of education at Glasgow City Council, Stephen Curran throwing his hat into the ring for the Cathcart, where his key challenger would be Mr McAveety.

The only female candidate touted so far for Shettleston is Yvonne Kucuk, an ally of Scottish Labour's Anas Sarwar and only elected to the city council in 2012.

Party leader Johann Lamont will again contest Pollok. Across the Clyde, Labour is optimistic of regaining Anniesland from the SNP, with the constituency being paired with Clydebank and Milngavie.

A Scottish Labour spokesman said: "We have always led the way on equal representation and the constituency twinning will give us the chance to offer Scotland a range of candidates who reflect the people we seek to represent."

SNP MSP Sandra White said: "No matter what Labour in ­Scotland tries to do with its ­selection processes, it is their ­policies they will be judged on."