By Alex Stevens
David Bates was handed his Rangers debut in Wednesday’s Scottish Premiership stalemate against Kilmarnock – and fans took to Twitter to deliver mixed verdicts on his display.
With the Scottish giants ravaged by injuries and unavailabilities, Pedro Caixinha fast-tracked Bates, 20, and his fellow rookie Myles Beerman, 18, into the starting XI for the clash on Rugby Park’s artificial surface.
Bates played the full 90 minutes in the unfamiliar and inexperienced back four just a few months after joining Rangers in the January transfer window on an 18-month development loan.
Bates was at centre-back alongside fit-again Danny Wilson, flanked by Beerman at left-back and right-back mainstay James Tavernier.
Supporters took to social media to analyse his display, with some claiming the ex-Raith Rovers man looked shaky, while others claimed he was polished and contributed well to a clean sheet for his side.
Here is a selection of their messages on Twitter:
— BISH (@CBISH12) April 5, 2017
— Rob Irving (@RobIrving14) April 5, 2017
Though Bates done a good job!
— Rangers Central (@GersCentral) April 5, 2017
No fight or balls in this rangers team Bates beerman are exempt mc Kay needs to learn to cross a ball garner picks up too many bookings
— true blue 1970 (@wullielittle) April 5, 2017
Beerman was lively tonight. Bates took some time to come into the game but did ok. Need a few more games to get an idea of how good they are
— Sensible Rangers (@SensibleRangers) April 5, 2017
@RangersCulture Always thought bates would’ve been a bit nervous but who wouldn’t playing their first game for an under pressure rangers
— Aaron (@aaronhenry313) April 5, 2017
For all the talk about the defence – Bates and Beerman kept a clean sheet. It was the attack who were woeful.
— Rangers Culture (@RangersCulture) April 5, 2017
Thought Bates and Beerman coped admirably for Rangers. Team move the ball too slowly through midfield and attack. Joe Garner so poor again
— Scott McClymont (@mcclymontscott) April 5, 2017
Bates caught the eye last season when he broke through at the Kirkcaldy side before moving on loan to Brechin City.
Bates returned to Raith where he made nine top team starts in the second half of last season, including in a 1-0 defeat to Rangers at Stark’s Park in February 2016.
He spent the first six months of the season with the Rangers development side and was deemed to have done enough to win himself a deal until the summer of 2018.
Rangers have lost ground in the race to finish second in the league over the last week, during which Aberdeen have secured two consecutive Aberdeen victories.
Caixinha’s third-placed side have drawn twice in a row and are now 13 points adrift of Derek McInnes’ team with just seven matches of the campaign remaining.
In other Rangers news, one of the club’s midfielders has agreed the terms of a mammoth new deal.