BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
David Bates scooped his first man-of-the-match award with a sterling display against Rangers recently – but the Raith Rovers youngster has revealed his mum missed it because she was playing bingo!
The 19-year-old this week penned a contract extension to keep him at Stark’s Park until 2017 and is hoping to celebrate with a victory over Falkirk this afternoon.
It would cap a remarkable spell for the defender, who was initially farmed out to Brechin City, only to be recalled because of a spate of injuries that have seen him clock up eight consecutive appearances for the Kirkcaldy club.
With the Scottish Cup and league double-header against Hibernian and the narrow 1-0 defeat to Rangers on Rovers’ last outing earlier this month, the teenager has added some big-game experience so early in his first-team career.
However, he had a chuckle this week when he recounted his family’s reaction to the accolade he received after the clash with the Ibrox league leaders.
He said: “I’ve come back from Brechin and played in games against teams like Rangers and Hibs, and I enjoy the big games.
“The Rangers game was hard but I thought we played well and I think we could have got a point out of it.
“I got the man-of-the-match award, which is the first time I’ve ever got that award at a game, so I was pretty chuffed with myself.
“My mum and dad, David and Donna, were pretty happy for me. I still stay with them in Dunfermline and they were congratulating me.
“My dad was there at the game to watch, but my mum went to the bingo instead!
“My granddad’s actually a Dunfermline fan and he still gives me a bit of stick, but they’re all really happy for me.”
Bates’ previous contract was due to expire at the end of the season but he is thrilled to have sorted out his future after agreeing a 12-month extension.
He follows fellow defenders Kyle Bendictus and Lewis Toshney in penning fresh terms as Raith manager Ray McKinnon seeks to piece together a young squad with a smattering of experience.
Bates is happy to have avoided the uncertainty of a close-season spent wondering where he would be playing next season, but is determined not to rest on his laurels.
He added: “I’m happy with the new contract. I can get a wee bit of security and I can go away in the summer and know what’s happening.
“The gaffer spoke to me last week about a new deal for next season and I was delighted. It’s better to get it done early, so you know what’s happening and you’re a bit more comfortable about the future.
“I’m happy to be playing and hopefully I can keep putting in consistent performances and keep myself in the team.
“I just want to keep putting in consistent performances and keep it in the gaffer’s mind that I can always go in there at right-back or centre-back and play as much as I can.”
Raith travel to Falkirk this afternoon seeking to keep themselves in fourth spot and on course for a promotion play-off place.
Their hosts look to have cemented third in the table, but Queen of the South, Morton and St Mirren will all have designs on the final play-off spot come the end of the season.
And Bates admits Falkirk, who have plundered 1-0 and 2-1 wins from games against Rovers this season, are the benchmark for what the Stark’s Park side hope to do next term.
He said: “I think we should be looking to try and do next year what Falkirk have done this season.
“They’ve done really well to be up competing with Hibs and Rangers. Hopefully we could do that as well.
“We’ve had tight games against them this season but we’ve strengthened the squad and hopefully we could do well against them this time.”