Celeski happy to stay patient

Good things are supposed to come to those who wait, and Melbourne Victory midfielder Billy Celeski has proven himself to be a very patient man.

Good things are supposed to come to those who wait, and Melbourne Victory midfielder Billy Celeski has proven himself to be a very patient man.

Born in 1985, in what was then the Socialist Republic of Macedonia, Blagoja 'Billy' Celeski moved to Melbourne as a child, playing at youth level for Preston Lions and Bulleen Zebras, before progressing to first the Victorian and then the Australian Institute of Sport.

Despite his considerable promise, Celeski had to bide his time before establishing himself at elite level.

Signed by Perth Glory in 2005/06, he made 18 appearances, but was initially released before re-signing for the Western Australian club in March 2007.

Celeski finally announced his arrival on the big stage in December that year, netting a hat-trick in a 4-2 win away to Sydney.

He moved to Victory in 2008, helping the team win the Hyundai A-League Premiership under Ernie Merrick.

To cap it all off, Celeski became an Olympian, joining the Olyroos squad at the 2008 Beijing Games, before making his first full Socceroos appearance the following year.

Just when it appeared the sky was the limit, disaster struck. Celeski tore his anterior cruciate ligament in September 2009, the first of what has since proven to be innumerable obstacles barring the midfielder's path to regular first-team football.

An 11-month absence followed, Celeski not returning to action until August 2010.

Unfortunately, that did not signal the end of his struggle for fitness, with a succession of groin and hip problems preventing him from contributing, as Victory slid from their status as perennial title contenders to competition also-rans.

When asked about his initial ACL injury and subsequent problems, Celeski said: "There's nothing worse, is there? I've had two hip 'scopes, I had some wear and tear, some calcification on my hip, then I had the mesh put in for a hernia. The hernia wasn't there, but (it was) precautionary, because I've had a lot of pelvis issues.

"It's hard. You obviously need to be really professional, do all the right things, have faith in the medical staff and the people around you and just hope the coaching staff has that confidence in you as well."

The 2012/13 A-League season has offered a fresh start for both Celeski and Victory as a whole, with the fit-again midfielder proving a key member of the new-look team under coach Ange Postecoglou.

Celeski has made seven appearances to date this term, and is grateful for the faith shown in him by Postecoglou and the Victory coaching staff.

"The biggest thing is the belief in your own body," he said.

"There's been times when I've come back and broken down really early, then there's been other times when I've had a stretch of games, so it's just one of those things, it's never ending. I'm happy at the moment, how things are going.

"I think the last time I had this sort of run would have been before my knee re-co, since my knee re-co it's been three or four games in a row, breakdown, two or three games, breakdown, so it's been tough. But I've put that to one side now, I'm not even thinking about it and I'm really happy to be honest.

"The belief's there from Ange with all the boys. If he puts you in there, he knows you're going to do a job. He's got faith and belief in you and you take that confidence into the game knowing if he's got that belief in you, you can get on with your job and play to the structure the way he wants."

Back playing in a winning team at club level, Celeski's next target must be a long overdue return to the Australian national team set-up.

Victory colleagues Mark Milligan and Archie Thompson both earned call-ups to Holger Osieck's Socceroos squad for the East Asian Cup preliminaries in December.

The fixtures arrived too soon for fit-again Celeski to be considered, but the 27-year-old can surely harbour realistic hopes of reviving his international career, even if the man himself is too modest to admit it.

"To be honest I didn't even think about it," he said.

"Maybe if it was a little bit later down the track, it would have been in the back of my mind.

"But I think we've got a lot of young players who are coming in now, and it's a great opportunity for those boys to get a gig. It's a squad he's put together and I hope we do well.

"I think for me, if it was an A-League-based squad, I'd like to think I might be in contention if I was playing and playing well, but it's something I really haven't thought.

"It's just a matter of me getting on the park here and playing well for Melbourne Victory and making sure we're winning games."

If Victory keep impressing under Postecoglou, and Celeski continues to catch the eye, it will not be long before we see him get reacquainted with the green and gold.