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Jul 14, 2011   |  4:21PM AET

Sign of good things to come

Sign of good things to come

If first impressions are anything to go by and so often they are, then Melbourne Victory has found a gem of real value in Marco Rojas.

If first impressions are anything to go by and so often they are, then Melbourne Victory has found a gem of real value in Marco Rojas.

The 19-year-old signalled he will be a key plank in Victory’s 2011-12 Hyundai A-League campaign with an outstanding debut against Scottish giants Celtic at AAMI Park on Wednesday night.

Rojas provided the fulcrum for many of the home side’s attacking forays and even the wet, slippery conditions reminiscent of Glasgow for the visitors, couldn’t blunt the New Zealand international from displaying his talents.

Victory coach Mehmet Durakovic couldn’t have been more impressed with the contribution by the precocious attacking midfielder.

“He’s just going to be that X-Factor,” Durakovic said.

“You don’t really know what he’s going to do, he’s got that unpredictable ability when he gets the ball.”

“Just the way he runs at players, he’s so deceptive – you don’t know if he’s going to go left, right, he’s got unbelievable touches and the vision he’s got is phenomenal.”

What made Rojas and the performance of his Victory team-mates so impressive in the 1-0 loss to the 42-time Scottish champions was it came virtually a week into their pre-season campaign.

Durakovic was encouraged by his side’s quality and believes it will be a spur for Victory’s playing group to prepare well ahead of the October HAL start.

“I was very, very happy with the boys’ performance, we’ve only been back six days after a long layoff,” Durakovic said.

“Their performance and commitment was a different class, Celtic are a big club and start their season in 10 days time, we start ours in two-and-a-half months time.”

Victory unveiled fellow high-profile off-season buy Jean Carlos Solorzano and the Costa Rican came agonisingly close to marking his debut with a goal just six minutes after coming on as a half-time substitute.

Durakovic hopes both Rojas and Solorzano will complement an attacking line-up also featuring the likes of Archie Thompson, Danny Allsopp and Carlos Hernandez, who missed the glamour friendly due to disciplinary reasons.

“I’m looking forward to him (Rojas) having a big season, like Solorzano,” Durakovic said.

“Solorzano did well.”

Victory was also well-served by skipper Adrian Leijer and goalkeeper Tando Velaphi, who pulled off a string of top-draw saves to thwart Celtic.

Velaphi’s brilliant performance was timely considering conjecture surrounding whether Victory has signed former Liverpool trainee Dean Bouzanis.

Durakovic cleared up the situation surrounding Bouzanis post-match.

“We are looking for a keeper, but we haven’t signed anyone,” Durakovic said.

“We have not signed Dean Bouzanis.”