DAVID BATES admits it was a dream come true to sign for Rangers permanently after a successful loan spell at the club he has supported since he was a boy.
The defender came in on loan from Raith Rovers at the start of the season before his deal was made permanent in January and confesses he has had to pinch himself since being made a first-team squad member.
Bates had impressed Mark Warburton and his staff when he played against the Light Blues in the Championship last season but thought his dream move had fallen through when he picked up an injury in April.
The 20-year-old told RangersTV: “I was delighted when I heard the news, I spoke to Craig Mulholland the Head of Youth first and he said we are looking to get you in permanently and that was a couple of months before I signed.
“Talks were slow at first and I was dying to sign but once it all started happening I was thrilled.
“Last year I heard about the whole loan situation and I got injured last season towards the end of the season, just after I played Rangers at Raith Rovers so it couldn’t come about then.
“I thought the chance was gone and then it came to the start of this season and then Davie Weir phoned Gary Locke at Raith and Rangers came back in for me.
“I came in on loan and was training with the first-team but playing 20s and trying to show my ability to the gaffer and when I got told it was to be made permanent I was over the moon.
“I played right-back that day against Baz and I played well to be fair, I think I got Man of the Match and I did do well.
“Davie identified that I was good one v one because Barrie was very good that season in the Championship so I was happy with that.”
Bates has trained with the first-team squad since his arrival at Ibrox unless he has match commitments with Graeme Murty’s Under 20 side.
The youngster is in a unique position of being classed as a first-teamer while playing all his games with the Development League squad.
Former Arsenal defender Philippe Senderos has taken the defender under his wing and Bates says he can feel himself flourishing under the new guidance.
“I have learnt a lot since I came in; I am training with Clint, Phillipe and Danny Wilson every day. Philippe always takes me to do extra bits after training like fast feet, hitting me into my feet and defensive stuff.
“If I have any questions I always ask Clint and he always helps me out which is brilliant.
“This is like a dream to me because I am a Rangers fan and then obviously working with the likes of Philippe who has played Champions League and Premier League is incredible. I never thought that I would work with a guy like that.
“I play right-back as well and I think playing both there and centre-half is good and I spoke to Davie and he said just keep doing what you are doing and being able to play both positions is a bonus.
“It is hard to juggle sometimes but I just need to get on with it and prove myself to the gaffer in these 20s games that I can step up and play.
“I played in the Championship with Raith, on loan in League One with Brechin and in League Two with East Stirling so I have been about and know what the Scottish game is about.”
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