ANAS Sarwar has moved to play down hopes of a Scottish Labour revival at Thursday's election, saying the party still had "years" of work to do before it would come in first again.

The MSP also, once again, ruled out "formal coalitions" insisting his councillors would not take part in any "party political stitch-up" after the election.

A poll for the Sunday Times over the weekend suggested Labour would take 24 per cent of the vote, three points ahead of the Tories on 21 per cent, but still far behind the SNP’s 42 per cent. 

Privately, Labour sources believe they could come second in terms of vote share, but because of the system of Single Transferable Vote used in the election could struggle to overtake Douglas Ross’s party in terms of councillors. 

The last council elections were a disaster for Labour. They lost 133 councillors and saw their vote share fall from over 31 per cent to just over 20. 

Mr Sarwar said he was “taking nothing for granted.”

The party leader was speaking at the launch of a “Love Glasgow, Vote Labour” digital billboard that will be driven through the city over the next few days.

He told The Herald: “The polls are one thing and obviously the polls are encouraging but the only poll that really matters is polling day on the fifth of May. And we're doing everything we can in the last few days to get our message across.” 

He added: “So I'm taking nothing for granted. I've got lots of work to do, and lots of progress to make to get Labour back into the position I want to see it in. 

“So all this chat about what position Labour's going to come in, I've no interest in coming second, I'm interested in Labour coming first, that's probably too tall an order this election, one year in, but it's my ambition. 

“And that's the work we've got to do over the coming years.” 

Mr Sarwar said he hoped to “improve in terms of representation and councillors and councils across the country.” 

However, he has, since the start of the campaign insisted Labour won’t enter any coalitions in Scotland’s 32 local authorities. 

That’s despite no party having majority control of any of the country’s mainland councils at the last election.

He said: “We won't enter into formal coalitions. And what I find intriguing is for the last 10 years, the SNP and the Tories have kept saying ‘Labour's finished, no point voting Labour’. Now all the SNP and Tories seem to be obsessed about is coalitions with the Labour Party. 

“We have demonstrated already in East Lothian and West Lothian and Midlothian and North Ayrshire that minority administrations can work. 

“We are standing in Glasgow, where the SNP have a minority administration, and in our Scottish Parliament, the SNP, were previously a minority administration, of course now in coalition with the Greens. So minority administrations can work. 

“And what I don't want to enter is the game that the Tories and the SNP are wanting to play,  where the Tories are saying no coalitions with the SNP, and the same the other way round, challenging Labour to do the same. 

“I'm saying this is a chance for us to change the way we do local democracy. Let's not have a party political stitch-up. Let's have decisions made based on what's right for local communities. And so I think that's a perfectly reasonable position.

“No formal coalitions and let's have decisions based on what's right for local communities."