David Bates must be wondering how he can hold down a first team slot. For the last two times he was unexpectedly called upon, Aberdeen and Celtic, he won MOTM.
Meanwhile Bruno Alves reportedly made direct threats to Graeme Murty that he would be off in January if he did not play.
One of these players is most definitely in fans’ favour now, and one is not. And after the hype and around September October, no one would have ever guessed the current order of preference.
When David Bates was introduced by Pedro Caixinha last season at Rugby Park, few gave this ex-Raith stopper much of a chance of impressing. And indeed, his start at then-boss Lee McCulloch’s place was not great either, and ‘Bambi on ice’ comparisons were made.
He grew into the role and by the end of the match had had a solid 90 minutes.
Fast-forward to the present day – his name remains unglamorous and fans do not get excited seeing him in the starting XI, but if any one player has not let us down when called upon, it is Bates.
A major reason Celtic could not score yesterday, Bates was stellar. Nothing got past him and he even read the game magnificently, every inch as well as the man he replaced if not better, with the added bonus he has the pace to cover gaps.
It is safe to say Alves is not the toast of fans any more. If our poll yesterday is to go by, two thirds of the support are done with him. And the truth is, if Bates and Wilson can handle Celtic, they can handle the SPL. And Murty might be ready to make him number one alongside Wilson.
We are delighted with how Bates has won his doubters over, and grown to become, unexpectedly, one of our best defenders. Meanwhile Alves has created doubters and grown to become, unexpectedly, toxic among fans.
Fair or not, Graeme Murty has a big call next month, and we would be very surprised if Alves is part of his plans moving forward and Bates is not.