McKay and Bates are good friends, from their time playing at Raith Rovers together as youngsters.
And when McKay heard that Rangers were interested in signing Bates, back in January, the winger claims he recommended the transfer to Mark Warburton.
“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,” McKay said.
Bates has been thrust into the limelight at Rangers in recent weeks, with Pedro Caixinha showing great faith in the youngster.
Bates has started in Rangers’ last three matches, and his performances have caught the eye.
Indeed McKay has been very impressed by the way that the youngster has acquitted himself since making his debut.
“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," the winger added.
“I was trying to help calm him down and I probably made it worse for him.
“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.”
Rangers are still yet to concede a goal since Bates came into their line-up, but the youngster could face his toughest challenge yet this weekend.
Rangers are due to face Celtic in the Scottish Cup on Sunday, and if Bates is given the nod, he will be taking the biggest step up of his professional career to date.