“It’s always nice to win, it gives everybody an energy boost and an increase in confidence.”…”It’s always nice for succes to be acknowledged, so yeah, I’m very pleased.”…”I am absolutely delighted, to win this competition is a magnificent achievement.” There were many similar phrases during this season at press conferences by me because 2026/2027 season was absolutely great by my Spartans FC team.
After the Europa League triumf last year we managed to win this competition again and we won all three domestic competition. Let’s take a look how we played this season…
I signed seven players during this season. Six in the summer, one in the winter. Three of them were from AC Milan on-loan thanks to a cooperation with Italian side. Both defender Davide Salvi and ofensive midfielder Valentino Lazzaroni played for Spartans in last season. Because of departure of our best attacker Brian McShane to Tottenham (he had release clause £7,5M) we had to buy new main striker.
I chose Tom McAllister from Ross County who played for Celtic and Aberdeen before. He was the second best Premier League goalscorer in last season. In February we lost our best defender, 19-years-old czech international player Tomas Malina. He was valued around £5M and there were twenty clubs interested in him including Arsenal, Manchester City, Real Madrid and many others.
The winter transfer window passed so I hoped we can keep him until summer but Shakhtar offered £7M + £2M during next 12 months + £1M after 50 matches + 40% from next sale. I could not refuse it.
European Super Cup 2026
Thanks to a win in the Europa League we played European Super Cup against Real Madrid. One of the most famous club in the world scored two in the first half and one after the half-time. We only scored one goal a few minutes before the end and lost 1-3.
Scottish League Cup
After last year failure in the Quarter Final I wanted to win this year all three domestic competition. We beat 1-0 Raith in the 3rd Round. The key match was in Quarter Final against Celtic and we played great and entertaining football with a 3-0 win. In next round we beat Dundee United 3-2 thanks to a brace by Gary Scullion and one goal by Valentino Lazzaroni.
The League Cup final was more dificult than I expected. Aberdeen was very hard opponent. We had 34 shots (9 on target) but we were able to score in the last minute of the Extra-time thanks to a penalty after Aberdeen’s defender hit ball with his hand.
Scottish FA Cup
Expect Final we were able to play mainly with “benchwarmers” and youth players. We had very easy way to the final thanks to a lucky draw. We beat Formartine, Stranraer, Kilmarnock and Alloa.
Final match against Celtic Glasgow was absolutely great from our side. We had 37 shots, Celtic had only four. Our best striker Tom McAllister scored two goals during seven minutes in the first half and he completed hattrick fifteen minutes after the half-time. The fourth goal was scored by Croatian midfielder Tomislav Vardic eleven minutes before end. It was very pleasing victory over our main rival in all domestic competitions.
Scottish Premier League
Unbeaten! There was absolutely no problem with the win in the league. We secured 96 points thanks to a 29 wins and 9 draws. We scored 97 goals and 21 conceded. We finished the Premier League 18 points ahead of Celtic and 35 points ahead of Ross County.
We beat Celtic in two league matches from four (4-1 & 3-2). There were some great matches, for example – a 6-0 win over Ross County, a 7-0 win over Dundee or many convincing wins over weaker opponents, home and away.
Our goalkeeper Aidan Kehoe kept 23 cleen sheets. Valentino Lazzaroni had 7.47 average rating in the league, Graham Paterson had 13 assists. The best league goalscorer was Nicu Ilioiu from Hearts with 30 goals. Our duo Lazzaroni – McAllister scored 16 goals both.
We played 19 home league matches. We had the lowest average attendance from all clubs – 5000 – but we had 100% average attendance by capacity. That means we had all home league matches sold out.
We played Group Stage for the third time in a row and we had very tough group for the third time. We played against Bayern, Benfica and FC Kobenhaven this time. We secured only one win in the group against Danish club at home. We lost both games against Bayern and we tied both games with Benfica.
We finished third in the table third year in a row and were “promoted” to the Europa League…
As defending champions we got Inter Milan in the First Knockout Round. After a 2-0 win at home we lost in the second leg but were through to the 2nd Round. There we got Arsenal. I thought are not able to beat them because we had some injuries. But I was wrong. We won 3-2 at home and 2-0 at Emirates!
I hoped we can win this competition again after the matches with Arsenal. There were a lot of confidence in the squad. We beat Atlético thanks away goals rule after 2-2 and 3-3 draws. Sean McLaughlin scored decider in 92nd minute.
Semi Final against Standard was much easier than previous games against Arsenal and Atlético. We complicated it ourselves due to pointless mistakes. We won 4-3 in the first match at home and tied 1-1 in the sedond leg in Belgium. In the second Semi Final, Monaco beat BVB so we met AS Monaco in the Final.
The final match was played at Aviva Stadium in Dublin this year and it was definitely “productivity lesson”. AS Monaco had 30 shots/11 on target, scored nothing. We had 26 shots/7 on target, scored five!
Captain Toby Macneil opened the score in the 23rd minute and after half hour of play we were 3-0 up thanks to another goals by Lazzaroni and Scullion. Lazzaroni scored just a few minutes before the break and Scullion scored his second in the 64th minute. We defended the Europa League trophy after a magnificent performance and I was very proud of this team!
2026/2027 Player & Team Stats, Finance & Salary
What about next season? It will be very interesting campaign for sure. We will have a completely new stadium with capacity around twenty thousand seats, we have been working on Youth Facilities and I’m determined to keep working with this squad and some new young players.
“You have been in charge for many years now and many think maybe the time is right for you to try your hand elsewhere. Is that something you have considered?”
“Absolutely not, I love it here and never want to leave!”