BARRIE MCKAY is pleased to see David Bates settling into life at Rangers – after fearing he had made his pre-match nerves worse.

The defender could make his Old Firm bow against Celtic on Sunday as Pedro Caixinha’s side look to clinch a place in the Scottish Cup final.

McKay got to know Bates during his loan stint with Raith Rovers before the stopper made the switch to Ibrox.

The 20-year-old has helped Caixinha’s side keep clean sheets against Kilmarnock, Aberdeen and Partick Thistle.

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And McKay is confident his friend can go from strength-to-strength as he looks to end his breakthrough season on a high note.

He told RangersTV: “I helped Batesy seal a move here; I put in a good word for him! We are pretty close, we talk a lot and I have a lot of time for him.

“I think his first few games he was maybe a bit nervous before it and it probably didn’t help that I was on at him.

“I was trying to help calm him down and I probably made it worse for him.

“I was just trying to have a joke with him and try and take his mind off the game, it was going to be his first start against Kilmarnock and I was just trying to get him ready for it.

“I think in his first three games he has been brilliant, he’s kept three clean sheets and you can’t really ask any more of him.

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“I think Danny has helped him a lot too playing beside him, he’s the experienced one in the back four and that has helped Batesy play.

“I knew him from when I was at Raith and he was a great big defender then and he was a bit younger than me so it was hard for him to break through.

“It wasn’t really the right time for him and he went out on loan and did well.

“He is a big boy; he’s a good centre-half at defending maybe not on the ball! He is a no nonsense centre-half and he’s a great defender – that’s how I’d describe him.”