RTE insists John Giles 'hasn't been dropped' from football panel for Scotland qualifier
The 'Three Amigos' of the RTE football panel will not be present to cover Ireland's European qualifier against Scotland this weekend, with Richie Sadlier taking John Giles' place in studio.
RTE has confirmed that Eamon Dunphy, Liam Brady and Sadlier will be the make-up of the panel for Saturday's crunch qualifier with the Scots at the Aviva Stadium, but insist it is a scheduling, rather than an editorial decision.
An RTE spokesperson told Independent.ie that the panel is interchangeable, with a decision made on a "case-by-case" basis.
With Ireland's next game three months away, the broadcaster says a decision on the composition of the next panel won't be made until two weeks before the qualifier against Gibraltar on September 4th.
"John Giles has not been dropped from the RTE panel," the spokesperson insisted. "It's quite normal that the composition of the panel changes for scheduling and availability reasons.
"The panel this week will be Richie Sadlier, Liam Brady and Eamon Dunphy."
Giles was also absent for the first Scottish game in the group last November, a 1-0 defeat last November.
RTE say that the composition of the panel is decided shortly before the game, so could not confirm if Giles will return to our screens for the fixture against the European minnows.
"Each panel is a case-by-case decision. It is decided two weeks before the game, so we don't know the composition of the next panel as the Gibraltar game is three months away."
A source close to the panel confirmed that they are upset that their colleague won't be on the panel for such a big game.