DAVID BATES reckons the experience within the Ibrox dressing room will count for plenty come Sunday’s Old Firm showdown.
Rangers have the likes of Lee Wallace and Kenny Miller in their ranks – veterans of the fixture – and Bates, who is preparing for his third experience of the game, believes they have a major role to play.
He told today’s press conference: “We have Kenny and we have Waldo, and it’s important to have boys like that about the building to tell us how it is.
“But all the Scottish lads know what it is about and a lot of the boys in there are Rangers fans.
“Everyone is going to be up for the game, and everyone knows about the city they are staying in, and the fans will let them know, this week especially if they see them in the street, how big this game is.”
Rangers can close to within three points of Celtic with victory on Sunday, with Bates adding: “Every Old Firm game is big, and obviously, all the boys are looking forward to it as we are on a good run of form, winning nine of our last 10 games.
“So the boys are confident going into the game.”
Bates was excellent the last time the two met – a 0-0 Parkhead draw at the end of December – a game he feels Gers could have claimed all three points from.
He said: “I think as a team we could have and probably should have won it with the chances we had. We defended well and it’s the same again this time – we need to defend well and everyone needs to put in 110 per-cent in these games.
“I think everyone does as the atmosphere gets to you and you get a good boost before the game. We just need to defend well and take our chances when we get them.”
Bates has been a feature in the club’s startiing XI for all of this calendar year, adding: “I’m just going game-by-game, but the more I have been playing, the more I have become more confident and I feel I am playing better and better each week.
“It’s helped having Tav next to me and either Bruno or Russell – everyone helping me along the way, and the gaffer too keeping me in the team.”