Raith youngster Bates makes instant Ibrox impression

Raith Rovers defender David Bates is on loan at Rangers until January. Pic: FPA
Raith Rovers defender David Bates is on loan at Rangers until January. Pic: FPA
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Raith Rovers boss Gary Locke has admitted that David Bates loan move to Rangers has left him short of defensive cover – but he felt he could not stand in the player’s way.

The 19-year-old defender has joined the Ibrox club on a development loan until January and while he is expected to feature mainly in the U20s side, he has made a quick impression at first team level after being named on the bench for Gers midweek 5-0 win over Peterhead in the Betfred Cup.

The two-way deal also involved highly-rated young Rangers midfielder Jordan Thompson heading in the opposite direction to Stark’s Park until January, and the 19-year-old former Manchester United youth certainly impressed on his debut in the 2-0 win over Ayr United in the Championship opener on Saturday.

With Craig Barr, Iain Davidson and Scott Robertson all currently injured, Bates departure leaves Rovers short of cover at the back, but Locke explained his reasons for allowing the youngster to go.

“If a young footballer at the club, who has done well, gets an opportunity like that, I’m not a manager who is going to stand in any young player’s way,” he told the Press.

“They’ve all got aspirations to play at the highest level they possibly can– I had that myself as a player.

“You’ve got to let them go and see if they’re able to do it, and he was in Rangers squad on Tuesday night so he’s already went in there and made an impression.

“I want to keep our best players here, especially our best young players, but when the likes of Celtic or Rangers come along and want one of your players, inevitably they are going to get them.

“It’s just unfortunate that all the injuries we’ve got at the moment are to defensive players. There’s not a lot we can do about that.

“If we do get any further injuries in the defensive area of the team then we’re going to be up against it.”

The swap deal came as a result of Locke’s long-term relationship with former Hearts team mate Davie Weir.

“I’ve got a great relationship with Davie – he’s one of my best friends in football,” he said.

“They’ve been very kind to give us a couple of their young players and everyone saw on Saturday that Jordan Thompson is a fantastic footballer.

“I’m losing one of our best youngsters, but we’re getting one of theirs.”