Neil Lennon believes clubs should not be allowed to play European football using the sort of artificial surface HJK Helsinki have in their Sonera Stadium.

Celtic defend a 2-1 first leg lead against their Finnish counterparts tonight and a place in the Champions League play-off round depends on what happens on HJK's pitch, which has not had a grass surface since 2004.

Lennon and his opposite number, Antti Muurinen, will meet this morning to agree whether or not the surface will be watered before the 6pm (UK time) kick-off. Both clubs have to agree before anything is done.

Lennon was respectful towards HJK after Celtic's official flight landed under a grey Helsinki sky yesterday afternoon but he does not like the concept of an artificial pitch, especially when it could be a factor in one of the pivotal fixtures of his club's entire season. The manager is likely to have Scott Brown and James Forrest available despite injury issues, but the pitch is beyond his control.

When asked if such surfaces should be sanctioned by Uefa for Champions or Europa League games, he said: "No, they shouldn't. I don't agree with them. Football should be played on grass, especially at this level. I don't want to make it as an excuse but there's no doubt it gives them an advantage because they are used to playing on it."

The statistics suggest HJK have enjoyed a significant advantage from knowing the idiosyncrasies of their surface better than any visitors. They beat Schalke 2-0 at home in a qualifier a year ago yet lost the return leg 6-1 in Germany. They are unbeaten in home league matches for almost two years and defeated the Icelandic side, KR Reykjavik, 7-0 at the Sonera in the last round.

Celtic had a light training session to familiarise themselves with the Helsinki pitch last night, which will influence what Lennon will be prepared to agree to at this morning's meeting with HJK management. "Ideally I think we'd want surface water on it just to make it slicker and quicker, but I don't know yet," he said. "If we want it watered we can ask for that, and as long as both teams agree then it's fine."

"We have to accept it and just make sure we get through. It is an advantage for any team who are used to playing on it. It will give them some sort of advantage but we can't use that as an excuse."