The Scotland Under-21 boss paid tribute to the Rangers legend he played under during their time at Premier League side Everton.
Smith, who died last month at the age of 73, signed the midfielder for £250,000 from Nottingham Forest in 1999.
Gemmill had emerged into the first-team at the City Ground from the club’s academy under the tutelage of legendary boss Clough.
One of the most revered and iconic managers in British football, the former Scotland international is well placed to make a comparison between him and Smith having played under both for a few years, detailing the "biggest compliment” he can give both managers.
"He gave me the opportunity and the experience,” Gemmill said about Smith. “He was brave enough to sign me for a club of that stature and I will always be grateful for that.
"A lot of people ask me what Brian Clough's X Factor was. And I think Walter Smith had a similar X Factor because his players wanted to play for him.
"That's the biggest thing a manager can be given and needs to get to a point if he is to do well. And Brian Clough's players wanted to play for him and that was his X Factor.
"He created an environment where his players wanted to play for him and I think Walter did that too and I think that's the biggest compliment I can give him."
A memorial service is being held at Glasgow Cathedral today [Friday] for Smith.
The loss of the Scottish football great was felt across the game, something which is echoed by Gemmill.
"I think the tributes have been incredible and I fully agree with them,” he said. “I have enjoyed reading them because of how highly I regarded him.
"When you read them, that really communicated how highly he was regarded and how successful and influential he was.
"It's been brilliant to read the tributes to him. He was a great man and a great manager."