GARY LOCKE admits he couldn’t deny David Bates a dream move to Rangers after the defender agreed an 18-month contract at Ibrox.

Bates made the switch from Raith Rovers in the summer as he put pen-to-paper on a loan deal and joined the Light Blues Under-20 squad.

As part of the arrangement, midfielder Jordan Thompson headed to Stark’s Park and the Northern Irishman has become a key part of the Rovers squad in the Championship.

Bates has yet to force his way into Mark Warburton’s starting line-up this term but has impressed enough to be rewarded with a new Gers deal.

And Kirkcaldy boss Locke hopes the youngster can go from strength to strength in the coming months as he looks to make the most of his shot at glory at Ibrox.

He said: "It's very rare that a young player will get the chance to move from Raith Rovers to Rangers on loan.

"With my relationship with Davie Weir, they asked to have a look at David and were kind enough to give us a couple of players on loan. David has done very well during that spell and now Rangers have told us they'd like to sign him.

"It's an unbelievable move for the lad and I certainly couldn't stand in his way.

"He is desperate to make the move, so we wish him all the best and hopefully he has a really good career.

"How long will it be before he can start challenging for a first-team spot there? Well he's still got a long way to go but he has a lot of potential.

"It won't really mean any extra money for us at this point but maybe if he goes and plays a lot of games and Rangers decide to sell him, I'm pretty sure the club has covered its back in that sense."