FORMER Scotland international boss Craig Brown rates Ryan Christie higher than £20million English star James Maddison.
The 80-year-old much-travelled gaffer was in pole position to see the early progress of the gifted midfielders in his role as Aberdeen ambassador.
The ex-Dons chief watched Maddison when he arrived on a season-long loan from Norwich City before his big-money move to Leicester City. Christie, who cost the Hoops a bargain £500,000 when Ronny Deila bought him from Inverness Caley Thistle in 2015, had two temporary transfers at the Pittodrie club.
Brown analysed both of the precocious talents and reckons the Highlander has the edge on Brendan Rodgers’ key man at the King Power outfit.
The managerial doyen, speaking to the Evening Times, admitted: “This is my own personal opinion, not that of the club nor Derek McInnes, but we had Ryan Christie and James Maddison on loan.
“I watched every game that Maddison played and every game that Christie played for Aberdeen and my opinion was that Christie was the better player.
“And yet, Maddison went to Leicester City for £20million and is now in the England squad.
“He scored a great goal against Rangers which obviously made him a hero in Aberdeen, but when I looked at those two guys, Christie was better for me.
“Obviously, they have both developed since then, but if you ask me which of those players I would rather have in my team, then I would rather have Christie than Maddison.
“So, Scotland are lucky that we’ve got Christie.”
The Hoops playmaker netted a memorable goal in Thursday’s 1-1 Euro Play-Off Final draw with Serbia in Belgrade that opened the way to the dramatic penalty-kick shoot-out where his Hoops team-mates Leigh Griffiths and Callum McGregor calmly slotted away their efforts and former Bhoys keeper David Marshall made the save that earned a place in next summer’s tournament.
All four are likely to be in action tomorrow afternoon when Steve Clarke’s men kick off a UEFA Nations League double bill against Slovakia in Trnava before moving onto Tel Aviv on Wednesday to face Israel who will have Nir Bitton and Hatem Abd Elhamed in their squad.