Season review: Montenegro

FK Rudar Pljevlja won the first double in the four-season history of Montenegrin football, with their three trophies also making them the young nation's most successful club.

Rudar celebrate winning the Montenegrin title
Rudar celebrate winning the Montenegrin title ©Vijesti

For the fourth season in a row, Montenegro toasted a new champion, with FK Rudar Pljevlja proving to be the most consistent side as favourites FK Budućnost Podgorica buckled under the weight of expectation. A second Montenegrin Cup success also saw modest Rudar – winners in 2006/07 – become the first local club to collect three major trophies.

Champions: FK Rudar Pljevlja
A top-half finish was all Rudar were aiming for at the start of the season, but they got much more. Level with Budućnost at the winter break, their Podgorica rivals began to unravel as they dropped five points in the opening two games of the spring, with a 2-1 win for Rudar in their crucial meeting on 31 March effectively ending the race. "After this match, we know we were close," said coach Nebojša Vignjević. "Our concentration over the whole season was fantastic. We didn't have a lot of ups and downs."

Cup final: FK Rudar Pljevlja 2-1 FK Budućnost Podgorica
With the title already in the bag, the pressure was off Rudar in the final, and they were a goal and a man up after just three minutes, Predrag Randjelović converting from the spot after Budućnost captain Goran Perišić was given a straight red for a foul in the box. Blažo Igumanović added a second for Rudar nine minutes before the break, with Ilija Stolica's 84th-minute strike scant consolation for Budućnost. "This is icing on the cake," said Randjelović. "We beat Budućnost three times in four matches. It's proof we are by far the best team in Montenegro."

European places*
FK Rudar Pljevlja – UEFA Champions League first qualifying round
FK Budućnost Podgorica – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
FK Mogren – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round
FK Zeta – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round
*Subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the year: Predrag Randjelović (FK Rudar Pljevlja)
The official league Player of the Year will not be announced until December. Budućnost striker Ivan Vuković was the 2009 winner, but it is hard to look far beyond the 33-year-old Randjelović, the double-winners' 19-goal top scorer in the league. The former PFC CSKA Moskva and FC Zenit St. Petersburg striker was a leader, a true captain and always at his best in the toughest matches.

One to watch: Mijuško Bojović (FK Rudar Pljevlja)
FK Rudar conceded only 26 goals in 33 matches, and 21-year-old Bojović was a rock at the heart of Montenegro's best defence. Very good in the air and solid on the ground, the 1.91m-tall defender is also a key member of the Montenegro Under-21 team.

Surprise package: FK Zeta
After missing out on Europe last season, Montenegro's first champions got their mojo back this season. Dragoljub Djuretić replaced coach Velibor Matanović after 13 games, Zeta won eight matches on the trot, surging up to third in the table, and taking a UEFA Europa League place. Their success is all the more impressive given that Žarko Korać and Ivan Knežević – jointly responsible for 16 of their 21 autumn goals – left in the winter, for Moldova's FC Sheriff and Russia's FC Krasnodar respectively.

Leading scorer: Ivan Bošković, OFK Grbalj (28)

Relegated: FK Kom, FK Berane

Promoted: FK Mladost Podgorica, OFK Bar

Number: 9
Budućnost set a new record top-division winning streak but taking maximum points between the sixth and 14th rounds was not enough to win them the title.

"I still wait for someone to pinch me and say: 'Hey, wake up.' It all seems like a dream".
Rudar coach Vignjević in seventh heaven after completing the double.