Stjarnan v Celtic: Scots hope to avoid slip-up on plastic pitch

Celtic face the challenge of an artificial surface when they visit Stjarnan in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League qualifier.

Celtic's main concern ahead of their UEFA Champions League second qualifying round second-leg clash with Stjarnan appears to be the Icelandic club's artificial pitch.

Ronny Deila's men are favourites to progress having won last week's first leg 2-0 at Parkhead, but will be wary of the surface at Stjornuvollur, which was heavily criticised by Motherwell manager Stuart McCall after his side lost a Europa League qualifier there last season.

The Scottish champions will travel north in buoyant mood, however, having secured an impressive 4-1 victory in Saturday's pre-season friendly clash with La Liga side, Eibar.

Leigh Griffiths was Celtic's hat-trick hero in the Basque country, but the former Wolves man is expecting an altogether different challenge on Wednesday.

"It [the Eibar game] was a good test for us going into Wednesday night," Griffiths told the club's official website.

"We got the win last Wednesday, but I don't think we played as well as we could have and we showed against Eibar what we're all about.

"I got 90 minutes so I'm feeling sharp, but it's a different kettle of fish on Wednesday night with the Champions League. 

"Whatever team the manager goes with, we need to put in the performance, get the win and make sure we get into the next round."

In contrast to the visitors, Stjarnan have been struggling for form in recent weeks and are currently 10 points adrift of Urvalsdeild leaders KR following a disappointing 1-1 draw with IA at the weekend.

And boss Runar Pall Sigmundsson conceded that his charges will have to show significant improvement if they are to produce an upset in continental competition.

"We have been dominating games," he said. "But we are not taking our chances and it ends up costing us.

"We have to improve in future games, starting against Celtic.

"I don't think we are playing badly, but we need a break to help our season and our strikers need to do more."

Should Celtic prevail in Iceland, they will face either Azerbaijani side Qarabag or Rudar Pljevlja of Montenegro in the next round.