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Finding examples of excellent signings made by Rangers in the last couple of years is quite a task! Their togetherness as a club is rarely in question, but quality individuals there have been thin on ground. Everything is relative though and two players who Rangers will be glad they managed to get hold of are:
Having played 71 games, Jason Holt was a regular and important member of the Hearts team. He was an integral part of their promotion campaign when they beat Rangers to top spot in the Championship back in 2015. Rather than take his place in the Premiership at Tynecastle though, Holt was convinced to stay in the second tier and join Rangers.
Once again his midfield displays were crucial and he earned a Championship winners medal. Getting Holt for a cheap fee from a rival was quite a coup. Along with signing Danny Wilson (and others over the years), Rangers getting Holt not only strengthened their own team but at the same time weakened Hearts’.
This is important as it must be remembered that Rangers do not have a divine right to get right back up to the top of the Premiership and they know it. Rather than only looking up at Aberdeen and Celtic, they knew fine well that keeping the likes of Hearts at bay would be just as important. They have achieved that now and the signing of Jason Holt was probably the most important part of the exercise.
Who knew anything about David Bates? Let’s face it, not many people. The 20-year-old from Kirkcaldy arrived at Ibrox in December from Raith Rovers in another cheap deal which has worked out very well for the club.
It’s early days of course, but the signs are good. Until Rangers played Celtic in the cup semi-final and lost 2-0, Bates had come into the team alongside Danny Wilson and played 3 games on the bounce. During that time, Rangers drew at Kilmarnock and beat Aberdeen and Partick – all without conceding a goal.
Bates was left on the bench for the 5-1 mauling by Celtic at Ibrox and that now looks like a costly mistake by the manager. He clearly has a future in the game and it would be very encouraging to see Rangers sign an experienced defender to play alongside him next season and this could help in bringing his game up.
David Bates has played 46 first team games now in Scotland and will not reach his peak for quite some time, but is a player to watch out for over the next few seasons. At his age, he fits much more into the mould of players that got Rangers out of the lower divisions in the first place.