18 May Bates talks Gers young guns
David Bates hopes the painful lessons Rangers’ youngsters have learned in recent weeks will help them make the grade at Ibrox.
The 20-year-old centre-back has been pitched into the heat of battle of late and h e has been joined by fellow prospects Myles Beerman and Jamie Barjonas after injuries robbed Pedro Caixinha of a host of first-teamers.
The former Raith Rovers trainee even had to form a new defensive partnership with teenager Aidan Wilson against Aberdeen on Wednesday night.
Their combined age of 38 was the same as that of grizzled veteran Clint Hill, who Wilson was replacing, and it turned out to be another difficult evening for the inexperienced pair as the Dons won 2-1 to triumph in Govan for the first time in 26 years.
Now Bates admits his brief run in Caixinha’s top team is starting to feel like a punishment exercise with his having already suffered two demoralising Old Firm defeats to Celtic.
But he hopes the schooling he has received from taking on clinical marksmen such as Moussa Dembele, Leigh Griffiths and Adam Rooney will benefit him in the long-run.
He said: “I have played with Aidan a few times for the under-20s so I know he was capable of playing at this level.
“I knew he had what it takes to come up and step up.
“I suppose experiences like this could help myself, Aidan and Myles.
“There’s a lot of learning for us all to take out of these defeats.
“But they are still hard to take.”
Raners hoped to cut the gap on second-placed Aberdeen to three points as they ran out for their final home game of the season.
But they were left looking second best for long spells as Derek McInnes’ men claimed victory thanks to goals from Graeme Shinnie and Ryan Christie ahead of Martyn Waghorn’s consolation strike for the Light Blues.
It was yet another low point at the end of a underwhelming campaign and Bates conceded his side deserved nothing.
“We are all disappointed,” he said. “To end the season at Ibrox with a defeat against one of our rivals is not great.
“We wanted to go out with a win at home for the fans.
“We just never got going at all. At no point in the game did we play the way we wanted to.
“Nothing went for us and we let them dictate the game. We let them dictate us.
“It is hard to take any positives.”