They started the campaign looking for third place in the Premiership and a cup win and with victory over Aberdeen they are now halfway to achieving their goals.
“You saw by the reaction how much it meant to us. It’s been a driver from day one of preseason,” said Ross.
“We felt it was a realistic but big ambition so, to achieve it, you look at how long it’s been – 16 years and only five times in my lifetime. It’s been a long push but they’ve worked really hard to get here. As a club, with the squad we put together, it was realistic.
‘You can set ambitions but you need a buy-in that you can achieve them and the group said they felt it was achievable to finish third.
“They’ve shown character, resilience, played brilliantly and dealt with bumps along the way. All the accolades they get, they deserve.”
The win was their 11th on the road on league business, the most the club have ever amassed in one season. And in a campaign that has already delivered so much, Ross and his players know that there is the promise of significantly more.
“It has already been a really, really good season but it can be an absolutely outstanding season if we win the cup,” said Ross.
Paying tribute to the part played by the senior players – Paul Hanlon, Darren McGregor and also Lewis Stevenson were immense in defence as they repelled Aberdeen – he said there is a mindset at the club which suggests this season’s highs need not be a flash in the pan.
“I inherited a senior player group who are brilliant,” continued Ross. “Hanlon, McGregor, Lewis Stevenson. And David Gray, who hasn’t played a lot of football but who has been brilliant.
“They help drive my culture. We have a common goal.
“It’s not been easy but we’ve pushed and pushed. We’ve not been perfect but very few teams are and they should be immensely proud of what they’ve achieved.
“The challenge for us is to keep doing it.
“We’ve been well supported by ownership and hopefully that continues to be the case. We’ve set the bar high and raised expectations. We need to meet those.”