Bates will partner Russell Martin in the centre of defence, with James Tavernier at right back and midfielder Andy Halliday continuing at left back with Declan John likely to miss the remainder of the season after breaking his hand.
Jason Holt and Graham Dorrans start in the holding midfield roles while Jason Cummings starts in the centre of the attacking midfield trio with Jamie Murphy and Daniel Candeias on either side, and Alfredo Morelos up front.
Cummings replaces Josh Windass, who misses out with a hip injury.
Jak Alnwick continues in goal with Wes Foderingham still sidelined with a shoulder complaint, so Liam Kelly is named as the substitute goalkeeper.
Joining Kelly on the bench are Bruno Alves, Lee Hodson, Sean Goss, Greg Docherty, Jordan Rossiter and Ross McCrorie.
Kilmarnock bring Youssouf Mulumbu back into the starting line-up as Steve Clarke opts for a 4-3-3 formation at Ibrox this afternoon.
Killie line up: MacDonald; O’Donnell, Broadfoot, Findlay, Taylor; Mulumbu, Dicker, Tshibola; Brophy, K Boyd, Jones. Subs: Fasan, Kiltie, S Boyd, Wilson, Erwin, Simpson, Burke.