Following the completion of the Ryan Hardie loan deal on New Year’s Day, three further player transactions involving Rangers have been concluded this morning.

Central defender David Bates (20), a product of the club’s youth development programme since the age of 13 and with 15 1st team appearances for the club under his belt, has today been transferred to the Ibrox side, where he has been on loan since the summer, for an undisclosed fee. Everyone at Stark’s Park is very sorry to lose ‘Batesy’, but the club recognises this is a great chance for the Rangers supporting youngster to progress his career to a higher level, and it would have been wrong of us to stand in his way.

Meanwhile, Rangers’ Jordan Thompson (20) will remain at Stark’s Park until the end of the season after his loan deal was extended and Scott Roberts (also 20) has been transferred from Rangers to Raith Rovers and has signed a short term contract until the end of the season.

Commenting on these deals CEO Eric Drysdale explained, “Rangers have required that the terms of these four agreements remain confidential, but the RRFC board is happy that through these deals and with the signing of Ryan Stevenson plus the contract extensions for three key players (Ross Matthews, Lewis Vaughan and Mark Stewart) we have already achieved some of our objectives in this transfer window, which were to strengthen the squad in particular by increasing our attacking options while also securing the future contracts of these players, all without breaking the bank.

“I am aware that there has been some negative initial reaction to what was a premature leak of comment on the Bates deal yesterday by a person close to the transaction, and there has been a false perception that the deal was a poor one from this club’s perspective (without any details having been made public). It is not. With home crowds not having responded so far to our introduction of the cheapest admission prices in the Championship for the majority of our home games, and with a so far somewhat disappointing level of backing for Craig Easton’s Player Development Fund, we have needed to find alternative ways to balance the books on all these deals. This has been done partly through using some of the club’s assessment of the current transfer value of young Batesy, but not his future value if his career progresses.

“On the issue of balancing the books, the board is doing all it can with limited resources. I also have to say that Gary Locke is by some distance the most co-operative manager I have dealt with when it comes to making key decisions with the club’s financial stability rather than short term considerations at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

“There will be quite a lot more player news in coming days, hopefully, as we continue to build for next season and beyond. All decisions being taken are for the long term benefit of the club and the players concerned, and I am sure the vast majority of supporters will accept this and understand what we are trying to do here.

“Our next match at Stark’s Park is our William Hill Scottish Cup tie at home to Hearts a week on Sunday. With away stands already virtually sold out, I hope that the Raith Rovers support will also respond in large numbers to create a cracking atmosphere and give our players the strongest possible backing for what is a massive challenge against Ian Cathro’s high-flying Jambos.”

Finally, an update on Aaron Lennox who sustained a fractured jaw and two broken bones in his hand in a friendly match on Monday. Aaron is now back home beginning his recovery following surgery at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee. He is in good spirits and thanks everyone for their good wishes.

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