But he said that the former Leith gaffer has made it clear that he wants his players to do well against Celtic at Hampden, and Gray revealed that while lifting a trophy is incentive enough, there is also an element of the staff and squad wanting to do it for the vanquished Ross, too.
“Absolutely! I still speak to him regularly now and I think it is one of these things,” said Gray,
Sacked just over a week before the Hampden showcase, following defeat at Livingston, Ross, who invited Gray into his coaching staff at the beginning of this season, remains a close confidante.
“I have spent a lot of time with him over the last two years and I’ve worked very closely with him over the last six months. It is a relationship that we have built up over time and we will continue to do that because I have so much respect for him.
“I’m grateful to him for the opportunity he gave me six months ago. He is someone I really respect and he has always said to me that he would like to help me with the next stage of my career, which is why he gave me the opportunity and why he is someone I will definitely keep in touch with.
“I have spoken to him throughout the whole process. I think he wants the club to win. He really wants the players to do well. Him and John [Potter, his assistant manager] were both so close to the players.”
But, having reached four semi finals in his two years at the helm, two of them progressing onto the final, the onus is on his coaching prodigy to deliver the silverware.
“He knows it is about getting over the line and I’m sure that when he watches it he will be disappointed that he is not involved,” conceded Gray, “but that’s football and we just have to react to that and move on and see where that takes us.”